The move is in direct opposition to State’s Rights.
Over the last several weeks there have been growing reports of various illnesses and diseases that have been loosely associated with “vaping”. While several of these reports have been attributed the use of illegal cannabis oil cartridges, public health officials and the media continue to frame the narrative as though nicotine vaping is the culprit.
The Trump Administration has recently announced a plan to ban the sale of almost all flavored vapor products, including mint and menthol but excluding tobacco. The White House directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to outline a plan over the coming weeks for the removal of flavored tobacco products from the market.
Administration officials have stated they hope reducing the accessibility of flavored vaping products will help curb teen use, with some calling the unprecedented move “historic”. The vaping industry and community have criticized the move for possibly forcing former smokers back to cigarettes by restricting access to their favorite flavors, as well as potentially signalling the end of the $6 billion-a-year domestic retail vaping industry.
Both the White House and FDA have faced increasing pressure from anti-vaping activists and parents in response to outbreaks of mysterious illnesses currently being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite multiple outbreaks being attributed to the use of black market cannabis oil cartridges, administration officials continue to blame nicotine vapor products instead.
Federal Vaping Ban
Last Wednesday, in an unprecedented move, President Donald Trump announced his administration was planning to implement a federal ban on most flavored vapor products. The ban excludes tobacco flavoring, but controversially includes both mint and menthol despite industry outcry calling for their exclusion.
Joined in the Oval Office by top public health officials, the President made claims of a “vaping problem” and stated ”We can’t allow people to get sick, and we can’t have our kids be so affected.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II stated the FDA would outline a plan for removing flavored vapor products from retailers over the coming weeks.
The administration’s announcement comes just a week after Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored vapor products with New York, Massachusetts, and California considering similar action. Government officials continue to cite illnesses linked to “vaping” and a so-called teen vaping “epidemic” while not offering any evidence to back their claims.
Officials have said they hoped reducing access to flavored products would curb teen use, despite there being little evidence supporting the claim and direct evidence contradicting it. Vape store owners and managers have voiced concerns about the impact these bans will have on their business and the larger vaping industry, noting that most of their revenue comes from the sale of flavored vapor products.
The Benefits Of Vaping
Evidence has shown that flavor bans, like the Trump Administration’s proposed one, could actually have negative public health implications. Research from Yale University shows that former smokers may take smoking up again due to lack of options created by flavor bans, noting that flavored vapor products were what helped them switch in the first place.
These kinds of bans not only negatively impact former smokers but current smokers as well. Constant negative press attention may create a stigma that prevents them from seeing vaping as a viable alternative. Research by Action on Smoking and Health found just 13% of adults believe vaping is safer than smoking, with 26% saying it’s just as bad, if not worse.
But there is evidence directly contradicting media misinformation, such as a study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer compared to smokers. In addition, separate studies from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Cancer Center found vaping to be 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Despite the stigma, nicotine vaping is a proven smoking cessation aid and reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. In fact, a study by the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective smoking cessation tool available today.
Not only do flavor bans negatively impact former smokers by restricting access to what helped them switch to vaping, but they may also signal the end of the domestic vaping retail industry as well. These small business owners note that nearly 95% of their sales come from non-tobacco flavored vapor products. A flavor ban may very well force a majority of these stores to close.
If a federal flavor ban is enacted, retail outlets that focus exclusively on the sale of vapor products may see a sudden and dramatic decline in sales as users simply switch back to tobacco products or quit vaping altogether since tobacco is the only flavor option available. This could quickly signal the end for the $6 billion-a-year industry, primarily comprised of small mom-and-pop shops.
It is imperative, now more than ever, for members of the vaping community to band together in support of a vital tool that has played such an important role in improving their health. By sharing your stories on social media and politely correcting misinformation, the vaping community can help garner public support against such destructive bans.
How has vaping impacted your life and health? How do you feel about the President’s proposed federal ban on vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-2546104/)