Proposal Faces Public Pushback In “Live Free Or Die” State
The United States vaping industry is facing an uncertain future following an upcoming federal ban on flavored vapor pods, as well as a wave of state and municipal restrictions. While several bans have been enacted with little public pushback, vapers in the “live free or die” state are refusing to go down without a fight.
A bill to ban all flavored vapor products, excluding menthol, went before a New Hampshire House committee Wednesday. Lawmakers have cited claims that New Hampshire teens vape at twice the average rate, and are attempting to curb that statistic.
Anti-vaping activists state that flavor bans help prevent teenage vaping by removing flavors that may appeal to them. Public health scholars have warned against flavor bans, noting that flavored offerings entice smokers to make the transition to vaping and keep them away from cigarettes.
Vapers and vape shop owners in New Hampshire have spoken out against the ban, stating such a move would decimate the local industry and place current and former smokers at risk. New Hampshire’s ban is even set to go farther than an upcoming federal ban by the Trump Administration, which only impacts closed-system devices such as Juul and Vuse.
Poor Prohibitive Policy?
New Hampshire vapers and vape shop owners came out to speak out against a proposed flavor ban in the state. One by one, former smokers turned quitters took their turn before a house committee to voice their disapproval against a proposed ban that impacts something that has provided so much benefit to their health and lives.
“I’m 34 years old. Cap’n Crunch berries and pineapple grapefruit, these two things are keeping me off cigarettes,” said Steve Kaltsis, owner of a Pelham vape shop. Kaltsis had been a pack a day smoker for over a decade before vaping finally broke him of his cigarette addiction.
Rep. Jerry Knirk, sponsor of the bill, wants to go beyond a recently announced federal ban on flavored vapor cartridges, by banning all flavored vapor products with the exclusion of menthol. He has stated that this ban will help to prevent teenage vaping by restricting access to flavors that may appeal to them in the first place.
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have long cautioned against flavor bans, noting the significant negative public health ramifications for doing so. They argue that flavor bans ultimately result in limited options for e-cigarettes while offering an increased choice among cigarettes, which may deter smokers from quitting and could turn quitters back into smokers.
Facts About Vaping
While vaping remains consistently under fire by lawmakers, the global smoking epidemic continues to affect over a billion people each year. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are currently an estimated 38 million smokers in the United States alone, 16 million of whom now live with a smoking-related disease.
Research indicates vaping may be one of our greatest assets in combating the war on smoking by aiding in smoking cessation. A study conducted by University College London found that vaping was responsible for helping up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
Not only does current data highlight the efficacy of vaping in smoking cessation, but research has also established vaping as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. A study conducted by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping was actually 93% safer than smoking.
Furthermore, research published by one of America’s leading academic bodies shows that there is little to no risk of harm from vaping long-term. Research out of the National Academy of Sciences found that not only is vaping less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects associated with use.
While state and municipal flavor ban proposals have seen pushback from their respective vaping industries and communities, residents in the “Live Free or Die” state are showing the effect that sustained civic engagement, and informative civil discourse can have. These vapers are helping to set a standard for vapers throughout the country, and sending hope that their voice truly does matter.
While the pushback has garnered a fair amount of attention in the press, there is still much work to be done for vapers in the state. The bill is set to move out of the committee before the house in the upcoming weeks, where it currently holds bi-partisan support.
The vaping industry and community in New Hampshire and throughout the United States must remain steadfast in their commitment to object such overreaching regulation. Continuing a campaign of sustained civic engagement and informative civil discourse is the best bet to help shift public perception and media scrutiny in favor of vaping again.
What are your thoughts regarding the pushback against New Hampshire’s flavor ban? Will it have an impact on swaying lawmakers? 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!
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