Retail outlets no longer able to advertise vaping as reduced harm alternative to smoking.
There are some anti-vaping advocates that have been on a crusade to convince the general public that vapor products are just as harmful as tobacco products. Evidence continues to emerge, proving the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid, yet many municipalities, states, and even countries are implementing sweeping legislation that treat the two as one in the same.
Alabama joins this growing tradition by placing new rules and regulations on a still burgeoning industry. This comes in the form of broadly-scoped legislation that strictly regulates the sale and advertisement of vaping products and devices.
Anti-vaping advocates praise the move as one that protects children and teens by preventing access and limiting exposure to advertising. Members of the vaping community, however, criticize the new law for setting back the acceptance of vaping as a viable smoking cessation tool.
While most are in agreement, there should be penalties in place for those who do sell prohibited products to minors; there is stark disagreement as to how we should go about implementing these punishments. Experts argue we need to carefully consider the current evidence available and gauge the impact on both public health and the economy when it comes to drafting these new laws.
As of August 1st, the Stringer-Drummond Vaping Act goes into effect, placing new rules on the vaping industry operating in Alabama. This law places regulation of vaping products under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, as well as several new restrictions such as preventing retailers from opening vape stores within 1,000 feet of schools, childcare facilities, and churches.
State Representative Barbara Drummond, co-sponsor of the legislation, believes the move will protect children and teens. “Though we have seen the use of tobacco go down vaping has become somewhat of an epidemic, especially as it relates to our young people,” she said. Critics of the bill believe the strict regulation may continue to perpetuate a negative stigma against vaping.
The act places strict restrictions on the advertisement of vaping products, such as prohibiting marketing of these devices as a safer alternative to smoking, despite the growing evidence. Outlets are also prohibited from advertising any flavors of e-liquid besides tobacco, mint, or menthol, something experts say could have dire consequences.
These new laws also require vape shops to acquire a tobacco license as part of their new jurisdiction under the ABCB. Retailers are even prohibited from selling vaping and nicotine products anywhere near places like school, parks, and libraries.
Vaping Isn’t Smoking
As research continues to emerge, highlighting ’vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation aid, politicians perpetuate myths based on misinformation. Research from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective tool in helping people quit smoking.
Representative Drummond perpetuated the myth of the so-called teen vaping “epidemic” in advocating for the legislation. Despite this misinformation, a report by Action on Smoking and Health that featured over 60,000 teenagers had found as few as 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens take up vaping after trying it a handful of times.
According to a groundbreaking study published by the Journal of Aerosol Sciences, vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of cancer in comparison to smokers. The researchers had concluded that particulate matter in vapor is far less harmful than particulate matter found in smoke.
In another watershed survey conducted by Public Health England, they found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking. The study also concluded that most of the general public tends to have a weak understanding of the potential benefits of switching to vaping from smoking.
These laws come as governments throughout the world continue to place strict regulations on vaping products, in most instances, effectively regulating them the same as tobacco products. This sort of heavy-handed legislation could group vaping and smoking together in the eyes of the general public, thus potentially preventing smokers from seeing vaping as a viable alternative to help them quit.
Reactionary moves by lawmakers place public health in jeopardy by potentially leaving innocent people trapped by nicotine addiction without access to the best treatment available. Free adults should be able to make responsible decisions about how to treat their health without politicians getting in their way.
These reckless officials should be held accountable by their respective constituencies. Concerned members of the vaping community should band together and take collective action against politicians who are clearly voting against and not looking out for their best interests.
Despite mounting evidence pointing to the contrary, anti-vaping advocates continue to propagate misinformation in an attempt to push their own agenda. It is vital for vaping enthusiasts and the vaping community as a whole to band together to counter these myths, lies, and other propaganda.
How has vaping helped you quit smoking tobacco? Do you see vaping as a viable reduced-harm alternative to smoking? How do you feel about the misinformation perpetuated by politicians? Let us know in the comments below. Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check back here daily for our latest news and articles!