Flavored vape products are a great way to break up with smoking. While menthol cigarettes have been around forever, the vaping industry has skyrocketed in popularity and profitability. By 2022, the value of the global industry is projected to be worth $30 billion.
Times are changing. Tobacco used to be less regulated, which meant users were free to make their own choices. Now, we live in the era of the Big Gulp.
What does that mean? The sizes of soft drinks are regulated to help curb obesity. Similarly, a flavored tobacco ban is being suggested in California, which also including flavored vape products which actually helping people switch from tobacco and move on with a healthier lifestyle.
A Flavored Tobacco Ban
Menthol cigarettes, flavored puff bars, vaping pens ... in California, these products were set to disappear. Luckily, there's been a short reprieve.
In August 2020, Governor Newsom signed Bill 793. The bill's purpose used an old emotional hook: think of the children. Most youths are attracted to tobacco products by the 'fun' flavors ... or so the story goes.
Bill 793 was meant to go into effect on 01/01/2021. As a groundbreaking historic ban, it covered most tobacco products with any sort of flavor. This includes flavored cigars, e-cigarettes, and tobacco.
Whether you prefer sour apple or lychee ice, all your favorite flavors were banished. The only exceptions were marijuana, pipe tobacco, fancy cigars, and hookah tobacco, which make no sense at all.
This ban has been delayed. When Newsom signed the bill, it was soon contested. For it to move forward, opponents suggested that the bill be placed on the 2022 ballot.
To do so, signatures had to be collected. In California, the magic number of signatures necessary was 623,212 signatures.
Over a million signatures were collected. However, these must be verified. The deadline to accomplish this for each county is 01/21/2021.
This presents an issue because the bill was meant to become law by January 1. As such, the ban is delayed.
In early December, California courts ruled that Bill 793 remains enforceable until the referendum fails, or until the 2022 election.
The failure of this bill, however temporary, is cause to celebrate.
Why A Flavored Tobacco Ban Won't Work
All the hype because California's ban has been delayed? It's well-deserved.
The initial logic made sense. Over the course of a nine-year time frame, an estimated 17,000 lives would be saved. And that's just if menthol cigarettes were banned!
That doesn't even account for other flavors or any vaping products. However, this logic misses an important fact.
68% of smokers want to quit. That equals 21.5 million people. Out of that staggering number, only 7.5% achieved their goal.
How do smokers stop? There are lots of ways. Nicotine patches, support groups, or the glorified idea of 'toughing it out' ... they've all been used.
But the easiest way to do so—and the way that achieves long-lasting results—is easing off nicotine. Quitting cold turkey is incredibly difficult.
Usually, it's recommended to take it slowly. What's the best way to do that? Vaping.
It's much gentler on the lungs than smoking cigars, for instance. And the flavors can also help soothe the transition.
By instituting a flavored tobacco ban, it deprives smokers of an opportunity to quit a more harmful habit.
Education is Better Than Prevention
The main rallying cry around Bill 793 was simple. Protect the children! Of course, that's what we all want.
By demonizing Big Tobacco, it ignores a very important point. 34.4% of children live with a smoker.
If children want access to tobacco, banning flavored products won't make a difference. After all, they can access what they want at home. There's no need to go to a gas station or retail location.
Another point? Most smokers are adults. By making sure children don't have access to these products, Bill 793 also ensures that adults don't have access to these products.
Rather than being a safety barrier for our children, this bill is infantilizing. What differentiates adults from children is having the maturity to make choices and live with the consequences.
Have e-cigarettes led to an increase in tobacco usage?
No. Traditional tobacco use (particularly cigarettes), has been declining since the early 2000s. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking decreased from 20.9% in 2005 to 13.7% in 2018
If proponents of the bill choose to ignore the benefits of vaping products to help heavy smokers, education should still be their focus.
Flavored Vaping Products
Another reason we're celebrating the delay of this bill? Because there are very real risks associated with it.
By criminalizing flavored tobacco products, there's a possibility of repeating the downfall of criminalizing other products. Criminalizing every issue isn't the only way out. And it's a lazy cop-out to assume that it is.
Besides the social issues that come along with criminalization, it also harms smokers who are trying to quit. Studies show that avid smokers that use traditional methods, such as cigars and cigarettes, are at much greater risk of health issues than vapers.
Flavored vape products, such as e-cigarettes and puff bars, are a gateway to easing off harder nicotine products. They're less dangerous, cause fewer long-term health effects, and are proven to help smokers.
Some smokers just intend to downgrade their habit. Others intend to quit using all tobacco eventually. But that doesn't happen without products that help them get there.
There are lots of resources available. But removing such an effective method to quit smoking will harm many Californians. Rather than being able to transition to a less harmful substance, they'll continue to smoke because other options aren't working for them.
Enjoying Flavored Vape!
If you live in the state of California, enjoy the brief reprieve! And if you're trying to ease away from heavier products, such as cigars, now is the time.
From vape pens to puff bars, there are lots of different choices. Pick your favorite! Whether you like the taste of banana, mint, or cotton candy, there are lots of sweet treats that you can dabble with.
And if you're interested in protesting the flavored tobacco ban, you can do so with your vote as a California resident. The ramifications of infantilization and racial profiling can't be ignored.
Want to learn more about all the vaping world has to offer? Check out our blog!
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