Hawaiian legislators have killed the proposal to ban all vaping flavors across the state, shocking many.
Increasing fear over the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” has sent vaping regulations into overdrive in many places. Both sides of the issue are becoming more and more stubborn as time goes on, and the latest changes haven’t changed this outlook. What we’re left to deal with are misguided rules and regulations which may do more damage than good. One of the most popular of these laws is a ban on all e-liquid flavors except tobacco, and usually menthol. Despite evidence to the contrary, lawmakers remain resolute the only purpose for these flavors is getting teens addicted to nicotine, and eventually cigarettes. It seemed Hawaii was going to be the first state to ban e-liquid flavors statewide, but now that seems unlikely.
The proposed flavor ban was officially put aside earlier this month, in a move that surprised many. The news sent shockwaves throughout the vaping industry, with both sides of the debate having much to say. For vapers it was a victory that no one expected, providing hope of an impending momentum shift. Meanwhile, anti-vapers have come out in force against the move, calling on Hawaii to go back to their original proposal. Some are worried this win may be short lived, but regardless it’s a massive step in the right direction to see a state legislator to go back on a vaping regulation which seemed a done deal just a few weeks back.
It was just earlier this year that lawmakers in Hawaii proposed an outright ban on most e-liquid flavors statewide in an attempt to reign in teenage vaping. In addition to the ban, it also placed a hefty sin tax on vaping products of all kinds. When it was first reported, most experts felt the legislature would likely pass the ban, as both Republicans and Democrats widely supported it. What ultimately led to its demise was the House Committee of Finance, one of many steps needed for final approval of any law.
Head of the committee, Rep. Sylvia Luke explained a compromise was met which still raised taxes on vaping products, but no longer bans e-liquid flavors. While the announcement was praised by much of the vaping community, some had reservations about the longevity of such an arrangement. Luckily it seems the lawmakers have taken a good hard look at the independent evidence. You don’t have to look far to find several reports backing the value the variety of flavors adds for adult smokers.
Why Back Vaping?
The committee didn’t make it clear precisely what led to their decision, but there’s plenty to choose from. For instance, we now have proof that not only is vaping an effective smoking cessation tool, but it may actually be the single most likely to work. Researchers at the University of Louisville ran tests on all the most common smoking cessation tools and methods, ranging from cold turkey to prescription drugs, and determined e-cigarettes are the most likely to succeed. Even more importantly, we have strong evidence which suggests the teenage vaping “epidemic” has been massively overblown by the media. A study of over 60,000 teens found less than 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever using a vaporizer more than a few times. So naturally, even fewer could be ending up smokers because of e-cigarettes.
Looking into the harm reduction value of vaping and the picture is even more evident. Back in 2015, we got our first report from Public Health England which concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. In the years since, we’ve gained plenty more similar results, with a recent study finding the toxicants in vapor are 93% lower than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, you have to look at the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is 57,000 times lower than a smoker with a similar background.
It was a massive win for such a game-changing regulation to be shot down. It’s usually the other way around for vaping, where rights are increasingly in peril instead of supported. So while the fight is far from won, we should be happy with the progress we’ve been able to make in the last several years. But with smoking still the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, it’s as important as ever to spread the good word about vaping to those around us. It’s especially important to ensure the smokers in your life fully understand what a switch to vaping could mean for their health and quality of life.
Does it surprise you the ban was shot down? In your opinion, what’s the most vital part of vaping’s effectiveness? What’s the best way to teach others about vaping? 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.