Vaping continues to face unwarranted stigmatization as lawmakers continue to treat it the same as smoking.
The vaping community faced another setback as the state of Connecticut joined Maine, as well as over 300 municipalities across the United States, in placing sweeping bans on vaping in public places. Evidence continues to mount, which highlights vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation aid. Unfortunately, poorly informed lawmakers continue to mislead and confuse the general public by equating vaping with smoking.
The Connecticut State Senate passed a bill by a 25-4 margin which enacts a broad ban on smoking and the use of vaping devices at state parks and beaches. That bill now moves toward the House of Representatives before going onto the Governor’s Office for final approval.
Organizations such as the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and other anti-vaping activists have lauded the bill for its potential positive impact on public health. Conversely, members of the vaping community have decried this and other reactionary legislation as a poorly informed effort to protect public health. They believe the confusion created by grouping vaping together with smoking may actually create a net negative impact on overall public health.
This is because blurring the lines between vaping and smoking may prevent people looking to quit smoking away from understanding the value of vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation aid.
States and municipalities continue to hastily enact broad bans on the use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices in public spaces. Making it extremely important to remain objective and understand the potential impact these laws could have, both positive and negative.
In February of 2019, the Environmental Committee of the Connecticut State Senate quickly passed a bill banning smoking and the use of vaping devices with a margin of 25-4. The bill advanced out of committee to the floor of the Senate, where it passed with a similar level of support. The legislation is set to be approved by the House of Representatives next, where it will then go to the Governor to be signed into law.
This bill would enact civil punishments for anyone caught smoking or vaping at state parks or beaches. Initial infractions would simply be a warning, with subsequent violations garnering a fine. The fine has yet to be determined, but there are concerns by some the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection may be heavy-handed in their approach.
Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and American Lung Association have formally supported the controversial legislation, praising the move as a significant step in the right direction for public health. These groups note over 300 municipalities, as well as the state of Maine, which have enacted similar bans against smoking and vaping on beaches.
Members of the vaping community have spoken out against the ban, saying this sort of hastily enacted regulation equates to legislative overreach. Meanwhile, vapers believe this constant equating of vaping with smoking creates a negative association which prevents members of the general public from seeing vaping as a useful smoking cessation aid.
The Importance Of Vaping
Smoking bans in public spaces such as state parks and public beaches, help reduce secondhand smoke exposure to children and the elderly. The problem comes when broad-sweeping laws portray vaping in a similar light as smoking; this can potentially deter smokers from seeing vaping as an option to help them quit and result in more smoking-related deaths.
In a study performed by researchers at the University of Louisville, vaping has beaten even prescription options such as Chantix as one of the greatest smoking cessation aids available. Rather than forming an opinion based on the full scope of available research and information, misguided lawmakers have instead enacted reactionary legislation which perpetuates negative associations between vaping and smoking.
This legislation was expedited through the Senate in the name of protecting teens from potential “harms” of vaping. Despite these baseless claims, research continues to show teen vaping and smoking rates are at the lowest levels in history. In fact, a study conducted using over 60,000 teenage participants had shown only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens have ever tried vaping more than once or twice.
Other pieces of pivotal research conducted by Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center show vaping to be 95% and 93% less harmful than smoking. It should be clear to anyone paying attention that these lawmakers have not seen the evidence for themselves.
The vaping industry and members of the vaping community are going to continue to face hurdles as the scene continues to mature and take form. The game-changing impact vaping could have on our economy and overall public health makes it very important to avoid legislation which blurs the lines between vaping and smoking.
Members of the vaping community need to stand alongside the industry in supporting politicians who support your rights and freedoms. People need to start writing letters to their Senators and Representatives rather than writing rants in the comments section.
Civic engagement and your ability to vote are your most potent tools in supporting your rights and freedoms. Stand by politicians that are objectively looking out for your best interests through their voting records and not their rhetoric, remain objective and well-informed of their policies and positions, and never simply vote along party lines.
What’s the best course of action for protecting vaping rights? How do you feel this kind of broad legislation that groups vaping with smoking? Do you see vaping as a valuable smoking cessation aid? Let us know what you think down below in the comments, and please feel free to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get the latest news and articles from ElectronicCigarettesReviews.