“Bill Bans All Flavored Vaping Products While Leaving Tobacco Products Untouched”
The Oregon State Legislature is set to become the next front in the state’s ongoing war against vaping. Following the failure to implement a temporary ban through executive order, lawmakers are now proposing permanent regulations restricting access to any flavored vapor product.
Lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban all flavored nicotine vaping products with the exception of tobacco. The proposed legislation would make Oregon one of the most restrictive states in the nation in regards to vaping.
Small mom-and-pop vape shops throughout the state have attempted to plead with legislators, stating the proposed ban would force them to close, potentially costing the state hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenue. Some anti-vaping activists have stated the proposal doesn’t go far enough, and that only the outright prohibition of all vapor products will successfully end teen vaping.
It’s important to note that claims of a teenage vaping epidemic have been debunked by a multitude of studies, and rebuked by harm-reduction experts and public health scholars alike. In addition, nicotine vaping has been exonerated as a potential culprit in a series of vaping injuries that occurred during mid-2019.
Complete Flavor Ban
State Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson proposed legislation that would ban the sale of all “flavored inhalant delivery system products,” which means any flavored nicotine vapor product that isn’t tobacco-flavored or flavorless. The ban would not include cannabis vapor products or products approved by the FDA to aid in smoking cessation.
The proposed legislation comes following the blocking of a previous temporary ban enacted through executive order by Governor Kate Brown. Because the temporary ban was successfully struck down in court by the vaping industry, lawmakers are seeking more permanent regulations.
An additional proposal in the state’s House would ban internet, mail, and telephone sales of vape products in Oregon, a measure the local industry actually agrees with. Most retailers within the state would not be affected by such a measure.
Vape shop owners have repeatedly pleaded with lawmakers, stating that such a ban would decimate the industry from manufacturer to retailer. They note that more common-sense measures such as restricting sales to 21 and over retailers would strike a healthier balance between industry well-being, consumer needs, and the safety of youth.
Truth About Vaping
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have long cautioned against the risks and ramifications of flavor bans. In an article, published in the journal Science, a group of respected public health experts came together to speak out against blanket bans on vaping, noting a lack of evidence that vaping is harmful along with the risk of forcing people toward tobacco and the black market.
Regardless of parroted claims of a teenage vaping epidemic by lawmakers and anti-vaping activists, a study led by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health discovered most teens don’t vape. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and the few that do are not habitual users.
There is extensive research highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation device. A study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping was more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping adults quit smoking.
Not only has been repeatedly demonstrated to be an effective smoking cessation device, but a multitude of studies have shown vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking as well. Research from both Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.
Oregon’s proposed legislation may serve as a death knell for the local retail industry. Such a measure may force many small businesses to shutter, losing thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue in the process.
Left with few options, many former smokers who hadn’t successfully weaned off of nicotine may switch back to cigarettes, or seek out risky black market alternatives in an attempt to remain tobacco-free. These potential public health ramifications have been long cautioned against, and yet these cries continue to fall on deaf ears of lawmakers.
Members of the vaping industry and community within the state must band together to strike this measure down. Should this bill pass, vapers in Oregon will be left with little to no safe alternatives for tobacco.
What are your thoughts regarding Oregon’s complete ban on flavored vapor products? What do you believe the implications will be for vape shops and vapers in the state going forward? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!