Despite critics questioning his methods, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is making a hard push against the vaping industry
If you look at any three random places, it’s likely they all have a different idea of how to properly regulate the vaping industry. As more research is conducted and published, legislators are slowly reaching some sort of consensus on if and how much e-cigarettes should be regulated. Unfortunately, this process doesn’t seem to be happening quite quick enough, as many places seem hell-bent on taxing and banning the vaping industry into oblivion. New York State may be the next place in line to restrict vaping rights, as Governor Andrew Cuomo made an announcement recently which made it clear his administration hopes to start implementing some hefty regulations on e-cigarettes over the course of this year.
As vaping continues to grow in popularity and notoriety, it’s become quite a bit harder for politicians to simply sweep away questions. As a result, many are choosing to go head first into the regulation of vaping, regardless of what peer-reviewed research on the topic says. This could prove to be a grave mistake, as many experts are convinced that rules like those proposed by Gov. Cuomo are only likely to make things worse, not better.
It didn’t take very long into 2019 for Gov. Cuomo to make his first stand on vaping. He announced his administration would be actively pursuing several policy changes which he believes will limit exposure to teens. These measures will be reportedly included in the 2019 budget for NYS, where a Democrat-controlled legislature is expected to pass them into law. Some are primarily focused on the stipulation which would raise the age of purchasing vaping and tobacco products from 18 to 21. However, this policy may actually have some merit, unlike several of the other suggestions made by the Governor.
Many believe the most significant issue stemming from this proposal is giving the state the power to swoop in and ban any e-liquid flavor they deem “unsafe.” This definition could mean a myriad of different things, so the concern is growing it will set a precedent for NYS to ban all flavors without any available recourse for vapers. That would be tragic, as studies show outright e-liquid flavor bans actually have the opposite effect as desired, increasing the number of cigarette smokers overall. It was also mentioned that sales of vaping products would be restricted to adult only shops, as well as limiting the discounts retailers can offer to mitigate taxes.
The Full Picture
We should take more pause before severely restricting something proven to be much safer than smoking. In fact, Public Health England first reported back in 2015 vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking, but it was hardly the last time. As recently as a few months ago, researchers found the level of toxicants in vapor is around 93% lower than in cigarette smoke. But the true extent of the harm reduction value is crystal clear when you learn the excess lifetime cancer risk of a vaper is about 57,000 times lower than a smoker with a similar background.
But its not just harm reduction that makes vaping valuable. We also know vaping is an extremely useful smoking cessation tool, thanks to more research. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville wanted to test all the most common smoking cessation methods, up to and including vaporizers. After collecting and analyzing all their data, the team concluded not only is vaping an effective way to quit smoking, it’s actually the best smoking cessation tool we have at our disposal. As an added bonus, the so-called teenage vaping “epidemic” appears to be overblown according to large scale polls. A report of over 60,000 students conducted by Action on Smoking and Health concluded that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up a vaporizer full-time, let alone switching to combustible cigarettes.
This type of short-sighted regulation could have a lasting impact on the vaping industry. With public perception already a significant issue for e-cigarettes, any more false information could spell disaster for the entire industry. People like Gov. Cuomo should instead focus on doing more research before proposing misguided plans. Using our emotions and not logic to make these choices could lead us down a path we have no way back from. So if we want to stop the smoking epidemic once and for all, the best thing we can do is keep fighting against unfair vaping regulations.
Does the latest move by NYS surprise you at all? What do you think is the most critical part of vaping? How do we convince more people about the harm reduction benefits of 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.