Small Business Owners Refuse To Go Down Without A Fight
As several states start enacting regional bans ahead of a federal ban on flavored vapor products, members of the vaping community and industry are beginning to speak out against such regulatory overreach in support of vaping. These people are trying to convey the other side of the story, how vaping has dramatically improved their health and lives.
Small business owners of mom-and-pop vape shops have begun taking concrete action to push against these bans, by way of litigation, lobbying, and petitioning. Multiple state and local bans are currently being held up by litigation as the industry attempts to plead its case.
These business owners say flavor and other bans on vaping products may force them out of business, as flavored vapor products tend to make up between 80-95% of vape shop sales. Anti-vaping activists claim that flavor bans prevent children from vaping despite there being no evidence that flavors entice them in the first place.
Left unchallenged, these various forms of prohibition could realistically spell the end of the vapor industry as we know it. Pushing back against these bans is the only option these job creators and providers have left to remain active in their communities and continue offering reduced-harm smoking cessation tools to adult smokers looking to quit.
Never Give Up
There are currently multiple lawsuits throughout the country by industry organizations against state and local agencies looking to delay or halt various proposed bans on vapor products. Organizations such as the Vapor Technology Association have been leading the charge in both litigation and mobilizing civic engagement by organizing events for vapers to make their voices heard, such as a demonstration in Washington, D.C., in early November.
While there has been ongoing regulatory crackdown and media scrutiny following reports of illnesses misattributed to vaping, there are promising signs that appear to give hope to an industry in limbo. President Trump appears to have softened his administration’s initial proposed federal ban on all flavored vapor products, instead looking more interested in common-sense solutions such as raising the minimum age of purchase to 21 nationally.
In addition, the constitutionality and legality of such bans are being routinely challenged by judges who say these forms of prohibition are going too far. New York’s ban on flavored vapor products remains in judicial limbo following challenges by the industry.
There are many potential economic and public health ramifications that may arise from the prohibition of vapor products. On top of forcing small businesses to close by outlawing their inventory, taking businesses off the tax rolls, and creating vacancies in shopping centers across the country, these bans may create a potential public health crisis by restricting access to reduced-harm alternatives for adult smokers looking to give up the habit.
We live in the midst of a smoking epidemic that currently impacts over 1 billion people globally. Data from the CDC estimates that there are 38 million smokers in the United States alone.
Despite the war on vaping, current data shows that vaping is a remarkably effective smoking cessation device. A study by University College London found that vaping helped about 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
In fact, vaping may be the single greatest tool we have at our disposal in battling the smoking epidemic. Research conducted by the University of Louisville found that vaping is the single most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than prescription options.
Not only is vaping an incredibly effective smoking cessation aid, but research also shows vaping poses significantly reduced harm to users compared to smoking. A landmark study by Public Health England found e-cigarettes to be 95% safer than traditional cigarettes.
Instead of banning vapor products, lawmakers should push for more common-sense regulations, such as nationally raising the minimum age of purchase to 21. Measures such as this will make a far more massive and direct impact on teen vaping than restricting adult access to flavored vapor products.
Left unchecked, these bans could spell the end of the vaping industry as we know it. This could force thousands of small businesses to shutter and potentially create a public health crisis that we can’t fully comprehend the scope of.
Members of the vaping industry and community must continue to remain vigilant in civic engagement to help shift the momentum working against vaping currently. Reminding lawmakers that “We Vape, We Vote” ahead of the election cycle is a great way to make our voices and positions heard.
Do you believe the industry will make it through these troubling times? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure 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-1294991/)