You can buy electronic cigarettes practically anywhere these days. Whether you stop in a convenience store, the supermarket, or the pharmacy, you can usually find at least a few cigalikes available when you need them. However, Philadelphia’s city council is currently debating a new bill that would remove ecigs from hundreds of retail stores. They are waging war on vaping and this is just one more new tactic meant to cripple the ecig industry.
The new bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Marian Tasco, would ban “tobacco products, electronic smoking devices, and unapproved nicotine delivery products at establishments where health care services are provided.” It seems to be primarily targeting pharmacies, but many of the city’s major retail centers have a pharmacy and would be included by default.
Critics of the bill have questioned whether it would actually do more harm than good. Council President Darrell Clark raised questions over whether it was smart to prohibit ecig sales when vaping is fully legal and regulated by state law. Others criticized the bill because it would make a significant dent in tobacco tax revenue, which is funneled directly to Philadelphia’s cash-strapped schools.
The bill claims to be a measure to help fight the city’s high smoking rates, but it contains quite a bit of false information about ecigarettes, which are not actually tobacco products at all. “Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of death and disease in the city of Philadelphia, which has the highest smoking rate of the 10 largest US cities; and tobacco is a unique and deadly consumer product with no safe level of use,” the bill says.
“The sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking deices at establishments where health care services are provided, including pharmacies, is contrary to the health-promoting mission of these organizations, and the availability of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices at establishments where health care services are provided can promote smoking initiation among youth, promote consumption, and prevent successful cessation among adults.”
Philadelphia’s Mayor, Michael Nutter, has been harsh on all tobacco control measures in the past. He has increased the tobacco tax by $2 per pack, banned smoking in parks, and raised fines for retailers who sell cigarettes to teens.
While this new rule might not seem like a major problem at first glance, it could actually significantly limit the availability of ecigs for Philadelphia’s smokers who rely on them to avoid tobacco products. Many supermarkets and big box stores now have pharmacies so these establishments would all have to stop selling ecigs.
Do you think this bill is an attempt to squash the growing ecig movement in Philadelphia? Will it really impact vapers or will they just purchase their vaping gear at local ecig shops instead?