Well known anti-vaping haven, San Francisco, aims to implement the nation’s first outright vaping ban as soon as possible.
Vapers in America have always dealt with constantly changing vaping regulations. Between legislators often changing their minds, and simple travel to another municipality, Americans always have to be aware of the vaping rules wherever they are. People who worry about vaping believe the harm reduction tools are doing little more than attracting teens into a life of smoking. The vaping community, and a growing number of experts, instead point to the peer-reviewed evidence which strongly supports their unique value. The result is a seemingly endless number of different ways to handle the growth of vaping, including some controversial ones recently announced in San Francisco.
Despite being the home of Juul Labs, San Fran has shown they’re no fan of the vaping industry. Last year the voters soundly passed the nation’s most stringent e-liquid flavor ban, and now it seems they’re not done. City officials announced recently they’d be actively pursuing an outright ban on the sale of vaping products. This understandably drew harsh criticism from the vaping community, as well as several doctors, who all argue this misguided regulation would ultimately make things worse for the vaping industry.
Getting Out Of Hand
This extreme vaping regulation would not only ban sales anywhere within the city limits, but it would also make it illegal for online vendors to sell and ship their vaping products to anyone who lives in San Francisco as well. This would make it the first outright ban on vaping in an American city, and one of the first to target online sales in particular. According to their announcement, this ban would only last for as long as the FDA’s controversial deeming rules are not active. However many in the vaping community are skeptical city leaders will be willing to revert once this happens. In fact, many believe their primary reason for pursuing this regulation is to make it harder for Juul Labs to continue doing business there.
This isn’t much of a conspiracy either, as city leaders have made it clear on several occasions they “don’t want them in our city.” Shamann Walton, who introduced this bill, also brought legislation to the table which would make it illegal for any company to manufacture or distribute vaping products in the city, effectively running one of the fastest growing companies of all time out of town. Many around the situation pointed to the obvious flaw in banning vaping sales while leaving tobacco in stores if their primary goal was indeed limiting smokers.
Err On The Side Of Risk
It’s unfortunate that so many lawmakers seem to be experts on vaping without having looked at any of the research themselves. If they had, it would be much harder to find people making the same tired old arguments against e-cigarettes. For starters, the flavor ban passed last year is likely to create more smokers than it is to reduce them. A report by Yale Professor Dr. John Buckell concluded e-liquid flavor bans, like the one passed in San Francisco, would likely increase Big Tobacco sales in the short and long term. Alternatively, if menthol cigarettes were banned while e-liquid flavors were left alone, it could drop cigarette sales by nearly 10%. This makes sense given what we know about the smoking cessation value of e-cigarettes. A report published by the University of Louisville found that not only is vaping an effective quit aid, but it’s actually the most likely to be successful.
Looking into the harm reduction value of vaping, and the picture is even more clear. Back in 2015, we got our first reputable report which found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking. That report by Public Health England was groundbreaking at the time, but these days we get results like that often. In fact, just a few months back we got another report which found vapor has 93% fewer toxicants than cigarette smoke. But to truly understand what’s at stake, you must consider the report from the Journal of Aerosol Sciences which concluded the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is around 57,000 times lower than similar smokers.
It’s already incredibly hard to be a vaper in San Francisco, and if this new move is successful, it will become near impossible. Instead of taking the time to understand what vaping has to offer, legislators are instead focused on getting a somewhat polarizing company out of their city. But what’s genuinely unreal is that they’re pursuing this harsh regulation while doing nothing else to curb smoking. This should be a much bigger story than it is, so it’s up to us to spread this information to those around us. That’s the only way we can hope to protect our vaping rights moving forward.
What’s the furthest you think a city should go to try and protect teens from vaping? Do you think this move could have a similar effect in other places? What’s the best way to spread positive information to smokers in our lives? 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.