At this point, we’ve all heard about the latest reports that are connecting vaping to a dangerous lung disease. At VaporDNA, we went into detail regarding some of the reasons why those concerns may be blown out of proportion. This time around, we’re going to focus on the proposed ban of flavored e-juices from the Trump administration. While many experts are discussing how best to combat the illness that’s not yet fully understood, which is why this ban might be both rushed and poorly informed.
But the targeting of flavored e-juices specifically is puzzling, to say the least. While there are some things we still need to figure out regarding this unknown illness, just about none of the available research points toward flavored e-juice as the culprit. So, before you go tossing your favorite dessert vape in the garbage, let’s go over some reasons why banning these flavored e-juices won’t make much sense.
No effect on THC illness
The proposed ban is only going to affect nicotine concentrates even though nearly all the people that have gotten sick were vaping THC cartridges, most of which were unflavored. Some people could even be allergic to THC itself, which would cause the lung problems we’ve seen in the last month. Considering the much larger black market of THC products than nicotine, the starting cannabis product is significantly more likely to go unchecked for mold or other harmful byproducts of the THC.
Forcing Vapers to Black Market Sellers
Many people following the story believe the victims of this illness got their vape product from a black market seller where their products and processes are completely unregulated. When you buy from the black market, there’s no oversight around the quality or safety of the starting product, the chemicals used to extract nicotine, or the cutting agents the extractor used to make their product ready to vape. All these unknown factors do one thing: increase risk, which is the exact opposite of what government regulation is supposed to do.
Unfortunately, the flavored e-cig ban would only force more people into a market that’s inherently more risky than a typical retail storefront. This is just one way that the flavored e-juice ban would actually put more people in harm’s way and not fewer.
May force current vapers go back to smoking
While the black market represents a level of risk with which many people are uncomfortable, smoking cigarettes represents a certain risk with which entirely too many are comfortable. While cigarettes are old and familiar to lawmakers and consumers alike, we know absolutely that cigarettes can give consumers deadly diseases. This ban would almost certainly result in an increase of Americans smoking cigarettes, a trend that the federal government itself has tried to work against until now.
It’s widely accepted that vaping can be an effective way to help people quit smoking cigarettes, and this ban is set up to undo that and push people back toward older, nastier habits. The last thing people want out of this is to get people back to smoking and doing serious damage to their lungs and overall health.
No impact on teen vaping problem
One of the first reasons the Trump administration sited for this ban was to protect underage Americans from getting sick due to the vaping habit they’re not allowed to have yet. In reality, because any trustworthy vape shop is going to check the ID of any customer entering their store, this ban will not keep kids away from vaping. Their black market channels are unaffected by a government ban, so it won’t be protecting minors in any meaningful capacity.
While there is more than a few good reasons to keep kids away from consuming any nicotine products until they’re of age, this is simply not an effective way to promote that concept.
A blow to American small businesses
Like it or not, vaping has become big business in a short amount of time. There are more than 20,000 vape shops all across the United States, and this ban on e-juices will make those small businesses less appealing to customers and less profitable for the business.
Hassan Sobh, the owner of a prominent Miami vape shop that was recently featured in a Vice article about Trump’s flavored e-cig ban, says “80 percent of my sales are vape products. A lot of the tourists who come by don't have these flavors where they live, so they stock up." So, once again, this ban is delivering a serious blow to small businesses with insufficient evidence that their flavored products are even harmful in the first place.
And, just for a sense of scale, the vape industry currently employees nearly 90,000 people across the US. This isn’t just a handful of businesses in an insignificant industry. Vaping is now a major player in the US economy, and this ban threatens its growth in a way that could put a lot of people out of a job and disrupt the money moving through what is currently a healthy American economy.
Misguided, misinformed, we can do better
While it may not be malicious, this ban has the potential for big negative impacts on businesses and human beings alike. There is a reasonable way to make sure the vape industry produces safe products for customers to consume, but this is simply not it. If we’re going to really figure out what’s going on with the few people that have been affected by this lung illness, then we need to do so in a way that helps people and equips them with facts, not with hyperbole and knee jerk reactions.
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