Massachusetts could soon ban e-liquid flavors along with menthol cigarettes.
Many people fail to realize just how vital vaping regulations are for the future of the industry. They’re not always a bad thing, in fact, when properly utilized, they can not only help legitimize an industry but also further ensure the consistent safety of products. However, as many vapers know all too well when taken too far, they can spell disaster for an entire population of vapers. One of the worst trends we see is lawmakers choosing to simply apply existing tobacco laws to vaping products, such as banning public vaping and forcing vapers into the same small areas with people actively smoking. Another popular, but ultimately counterproductive policy is banning e-liquid flavors since many think they only attract teens to the habit. Massachusetts could soon become the latest state to implement a law like this, but critics are already blasting the proposal.
Vaping advocates point to the growing pile of peer-reviewed evidence showing a distinct and dramatic harm reduction and smoking cessation value provided by e-cigarettes. Meanwhile, anti-vapers support the move, failing to realize how such a change could ultimately lead to more smokers, not fewer. Regardless, only time will tell what actually happens in Mass, but many are worried about what the increasing frequency of fights like this means for the future of the vaping industry as a whole.
The bill in question was sponsored by Senator John Keenan (Quincy) and has two central portions. First, it would ban all e-liquid flavors except tobacco across the state. Second, it would also ban menthol cigarettes, which is actually a small victory since most other similar laws don’t even go this far. Regardless, this could prove to be a significant problem for the vaping industry moving forward, especially in a state where other similar laws have already been pursued. Vape shops are already the only place most vapers can get fruity or sweet e-liquid flavors, so many see this additional law as purposefully redundant.
The bill’s authors also made it clear they would continue to pursue this regulation even if this proposal happened to fail. They believe passing an e-liquid ban is the most important thing they can do to protect the youth when, in reality, experts believe these regulations have the opposite effect. A report by a Yale professor concluded flavor bans like this one will actually provide a significant advantage to Big Tobacco, as some vapers revert to smoking. Despite these warnings, analysts believe the flavor ban will likely pass this time.
Evidence For E-Cigarettes
It doesn’t take long to make a solid case for vaping, which begs the question of why so many legislators are hell-bent against it. For starters, the teenage vaping “epidemic” which is so often referenced as the biggest downside of vaping, has been shown to be little more than anecdotal fear taking on a life of its own. A report of over 60,000 teens by Action on Smoking and Health concluded as few as 0.1% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer more than once or twice. We also have reason to believe vaping is the best smoking cessation tool at our disposal. A report by the University of Louisville tested all the most common quit aids and methods before determining e-cigarettes had the best chances.
Things only get better when you take a look at the harm reduction value of vaping. A report back in 2015 by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. That was big news at the time, but these days we get that type of result all the time. In fact, just a few months back, researchers concluded the toxicants in cigarette smoke are 93% higher than in e-liquid vapor. But the most significant harm reduction value we’ve observed in vaping comes from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences. Researchers concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than a smoker from a similar background.
It’s truly unfortunate that our lawmakers don’t seem more concerned with doing their job. Instead of doing the necessary leg work to understand the stark differences, and regulate them separately, most simply choose to apply vaping to their smoking laws. The more this happens, the harder it becomes to explain to smokers why they should attempt to make the switch. After all, if you don’t see the benefit, why even bother? So if we want to end the smoking epidemic once and for all, we simply must support all our best smoking cessation tools, including e-cigarettes.
What are the chances this law actually becomes a reality? Are vaping flavors essential to your experience? 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.