In an unexpected move, Hawaii will no longer ban the sale of flavored vaporizers as previously planned.
Vaping regulations have been getting increasingly out of control, as legislators attempt to reign in what they see as a teenage vaping “epidemic.” In fact, things are starting to reach a boiling point in many places, as both sides of the debate become more dug in. The result is some seriously misguided regulations coming down the pipeline, including the ever-more-popular e-liquid flavor ban. Lawmakers are convinced the only reason behind e-liquid flavors is to attract teens into nicotine addiction, completely disregarding any value they provide adult smokers. Hawaiian lawmakers proposed this action earlier this year, gaining strong support along the way.
Luckily, that ban was recently shot down during one of the final steps before final approval. As you could imagine, this news was met with extremely varied reactions. The vaping community celebrated the unexpected win, as anti-vapers blasted lawmakers for what they see as a huge misstep. Regardless of the climate around the move, any time a strict flavor ban is reconsidered, it’s a definite win for the vaping industry. Only time will tell what sort of impact this news has on the rest of the community, but many are now optimistic.
A Win For Vapers
Earlier this year, Hawaiian legislators introduced a bill which would do several things to lessen the impact of vaping on teens. The law not only increased sin taxes on vaping, but more importantly, it effectively banned all e-liquid flavors expect tobacco and menthol. This proposal initially seemed as if it was going to have no trouble passing into law, with widespread support from both sides of the aisle. Fortunately for vapers across the state, the bill met its demise once it found its way to the House Committee of Finance, one of the final steps before becoming law.
Chairperson of the committee, Rep. Sylvia Luke ultimately worked out a compromise which would leave e-liquid flavors alone, but still raise the sin taxes on vaping products. Some remain worried the same regulations will come back into play sooner or later, but for now, vapers in Hawaii can rest easy. Rep. Luke called the situation a “tough issue” to navigate, but they seem to have ultimately sided with the independent peer-reviewed research, instead of anecdotal stories and fear. Indeed, reports we have on the importance of e-liquid flavors clearly indicate they provide significant value to adult smokers who are attempting to kick their tobacco habit once and for all.
While the committee didn’t explain what informed their decision, it doesn’t take long to find plenty of peer-reviewed research which strongly supports the harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaping. For starters, it’s becoming increasingly clear that vaping is one of, if not the single best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal. A report from the University of Louisville tested all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods. The team ultimately found that vaping is even more likely to succeed than the popular new prescription quit aids like Chantix. However, even more important is the evidence we have against the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic.” A study of over 60,000 students by Action on Smoking and Health concluded only around 0.1% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer regularly. This means even fewer could possibly end up smokers because of vaping.
The evidence supporting vaping is even more clear when you look at the harm reduction value provided. All the way back in 2015 we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That study from Public Health England was big news when it was first published, but these days we get this level of result often. In fact, just a few months back we got another report which concluded e-liquid vapor has 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, consider the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found the excess lifetime cancer risk of a smoker is about 57,000 times higher than a demographically similar vaper.
It’s fantastic to see unfair bans like these reconsidered. Far too often legislators pass laws and think about the consequences later. The fight for vaping rights is far from over, but it seems like we’re always getting more evidence to support our stance. With smoking still killing more people every year than any other preventable cause, it’s as important as ever to help those around us kick their smoking habit. That’s why it’s so important you make sure those in your life understand the true value of vaping, and what they stand to lose by never making an attempt to switch.
Are you surprised a flavor ban was shelved? What’s the most essential thing about vaping to you? How should we work to spread positive information about vaping to others? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.