In a recent Opinion piece, California vape shop owner explains how proposed regulations would likely cause them to close for good.
Vaping is a very complicated issue with many facets which must be considered. As such, it’s no wonder how there could be so many different approaches to regulating e-cigarettes, even within the same country or state. This issue has been getting more and more common as e-liquid flavor bans become the go-to method for “curbing” vaping. So despite evidence which suggests these types of regulations are making things worse in the long run, legislators from around the country continue to pursue them. In response to such a ban being considered in California, a vape shop owner recently wrote an Op-Ed published in The Sacramento Bee in which he blasted legislators for their misguided attempts to reduce teenage vaping.
Vape shop owners are getting fed up with the government making it nearly impossible to support themselves and their employees. Supporters of e-cigarettes point to a growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence which suggests vaping is an extremely important harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. Despite the research, a majority of the public still agrees with legislators that moves like a flavor ban must be done to protect teens. However, the reality of the situation is that while a flavor ban may not actually help any teens in the long run, it will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the livelihood of everyone working in a vape shop.
The piece was written by Noordidin Kachhi, a vape shop owner in Sacramento California. He opens by discussing the ban which is currently being considered by state legislators and would cause big trouble for shop owners across the state. According to Kachhi, he worries that if a ban on “flavored” e-liquids is passed, it will only be a matter of time before legislators turn their attention to currently allowed flavors such as menthol and tobacco. After all, all vaping products are technically flavored vapes. The situation is dire, as he explains 85% of his business is from vaping devices. He doesn’t mince words when he says, “If the flavor ban is approved, I will lose my business,” even going on to say many other business owners like himself also stand to lose their livelihood if the regulation is passed.
He then blasts local officials for claiming a portion of the revenue coming in from this ban would go toward investing in troubled neighborhoods, including helping people start small businesses. He points out the seriously flawed logic, “I’m a small business owner. The proposed flavor ban will close small businesses like mine and significantly reduce the city’s sales tax revenues.” However, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t think teenage vaping should be anyone’s concern. Instead, Noordidin talks about how a group of store owners he’s with, have been independently working on alternate ways to curb teen usage without crippling their businesses. This includes improving point of sale age-verification software, as well as investing more in training programs aimed at teaching retailers what to look out for.
Why Support Vaping?
Shop owners like Mr. Kachhi genuinely believe in the extreme harm reduction and smoking cessation value of vaporizers, and with all the evidence we have these days it’s not hard to see why. Back in 2015, we got our first large scale report which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That report by Public Health England made serious headlines when it was first published, but these days we see this level of harm reduction often. Just a few months back researchers concluded cigarette smoke contains 93% more toxicants than e-liquid vapor. But perhaps nothing is more evident than the report which found cancer is 57,000 times more likely in smokers than in demographically similar vapers.
There’s also plenty of research which supports the smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. A report conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville set out to test all the most common quit aids and methods to determine the most effective. Ultimately they concluded vaping was more likely to work than anything else, even the prescription drugs. But perhaps the most important evidence we have in support of vaping is the reports which suggest the teenage vaping “epidemic” is being exaggerated. A study of over 60,000 teens conducted by Action on Smoking and Health concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking students ever vape regularly, let alone make the switch to combustible cigarettes.
It’s clear that legislators aren’t taking small business owners into account during their crusade against the vaping industry. Despite a growing pile of peer-reviewed and independent research, most places still err on the side of increased taxes and encroaching bans. That’s why we must stand by vape shop owners like Mr. Kachhi. They already fully understand the responsibility they have to the community, and voluntary moves such as his multi-business coalition prove it. Regardless, legislators in California are set to pass their misguided flavor ban, but the fight’s not over yet. Now’s the time to tell your representative everything vaping has done for you and why you believe it deserves fair and impartial treatment as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
What do you think about the increasingly popular flavor bans? What’s the most crucial part about vaping for you personally? How should we be working to spread positive information to the smokers in our lives who don’t know? 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.