Lawmakers In Washington Propose Sweeping Crackdown On Vaping Industry
Following the announcement of a federal ban on flavored vapor products by the FDA, a number of states and localities have announced various prohibitions of their own. Unfortunately for vapers in one state, lawmakers are seeking to take these prohibitions and restrictions to a new extreme.
Legislation requested by the governor and supported by a democratic majority seeks to ban flavored vapor products and bring a new host of regulations upon the fledgling vaping industry. The new bill would not only ban flavored vapor products, but limit nicotine concentrations, ban flavoring chemicals, and require anyone operating within the industry to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Harm-reduction experts and public health scholars continue to caution against the dangers of flavor bans, noting these forms of prohibition may deter smokers from quitting and force those who had quit back to smoking. Lawmakers have stated the new legislation was brought in response to public health concerns over teenage vaping and vaping as a whole.
Washington’s proposed legislation follows an unfortunate trend sweeping the United States in what appears to be a systematic war against vaping. The bill is set to move to before an executive session within the Senate over the coming weeks.
War Against Vaping
Washington lawmakers have proposed new legislation that seeks to crack down on the vaping industry. The new bill would limit the nicotine concentration in vapor products, ban flavoring chemicals, require vapor manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to obtain licenses from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, as well as give the board authority to inspect licensed facilities to ensure compliance.
Washington lawmakers have expressed that the bill is aimed at addressing public health concerns over teenage vaping and their access to vapor products. “While our nation has made a lot of progress in the last several decades in reducing teen smoking, what we have seen is an explosion in teen vaping,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, a sponsor of the bill.
Members of the vaping industry have expressed concerns that the new legislation may effectively destroy the state’s vaping industry, removing thousands of jobs in the process. “We have people literally on the brink. We’ve lost over 650 jobs,” said Shaun D’Sylva, owner of multiple vape shops as well as a vapor product manufacturing company,
The new legislation is to be discussed at an executive session of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee later in the month. With the support of the governor’s office as well as the backing of a Democratic majority in the Senate, the proposed legislation is expected to pass.
Truth About Vaping
We live in the midst of a sustained war against vaping led by hysteria and misinformation. Yet, we face the very real threat of a global smoking epidemic responsible for taking 8 million lives each year. According to CDC data, there are an estimated 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of which currently face some form of smoking-related illness.
Current research indicates that vaping may be our greatest asset in the war against vaping. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in aiding smoking cessation.
That only adds to the wealth of information highlighting the promise vaping provides in helping thousands of adult smokers quit annually. According to research from University College London, vaping is responsible for helping up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
Not only is vaping remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation, but there is an extensive body of research establishing vaping as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. Landmark research from Public Health England concluded that vaping was, in fact, 95% safer than smoking, a figure the agency has maintained and defended for over half a decade.
While those in Washington’s vaping industry believe there are aspects of the proposed legislation they would be able to adapt and adhere to, they note that the bill in its current form would be impossible to follow effectively.
Retailers within the state have reported revenue losses as high as 85% following a temporary ban enacted last year by Gov. Jay Inslee. Public health experts within the state have also voiced concerns over the lack of access for smokers, stating these bans may raise smoking rates throughout the state.
The temporary ban is set to expire on February 6th, with the new proposal set to go before committee on January 27th. While the bill is expected to pass, there is still hope for members of the vaping industry and community to make their voices heard and bring about meaningful change surrounding vaping.
What are your thoughts regarding Washington’s proposed prohibition? What do you believe the larger implications will be on vapers and the industry in the state? 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!
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