The proposal would have banned the sale of e-cigarettes on the internet
Vaping bans are an all too common part of life for vapers. It seems like every year another couple of states decide to limit the vaping rights of their citizens on grounds ranging from potential harm to protecting the youth. Regardless, the bottom line is that access to vaping products becomes harder, giving less incentive to attempt, or maintain, a switch from traditional cigarettes.
Connecticut lawmakers had been working on a bill that would have restricted the sale of vaporizers and accessories to in brick and mortar stores only. The rule would have required face to face id verification for any sale, as is the case for tobacco products in the state. As a result, it would have been illegal to sell vaping products of any kind online. Many people choose to get at least some of their supplies over the internet so the move would have likely crippled the vaping community in the state. In a compromise with businesses however they have amended the bill with the removal of this particular requirement.
As with many states, Connecticut is currently debating how to best handle regulations for the growing vaping industry. Their original plan would have grouped vape products under the same regulations that cover traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. The current rule bans the sale of tobacco products in any setting where an ID can’t be checked face-to-face. After much pushback from vaping enthusiasts and business owners in the state, a “strike-all” amendment was added to this bill that takes the online ban out of the picture.
Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey says the amendments to the bill are only aimed at “the requirement of face-to-face purchases in retail establishments.” This change in policy has been approved by public health and general law commissions, paving the way for it to become law. While things seemed to have turned out okay this time, it wasn’t the first time American vapers have had to fight to retain their rights.
Vaping Across The Country
Unfortunately for vapers, these fights are becoming increasingly common. Whether it be bans, taxes, or both, the vaping industry in America always seems to be at odds with someone. Pennsylvania famously passed a 40% wholesale tax on vaping products back in 2016, a move that directly lead to over a quarter of vape shops to close in the state. Florida legislators recently decided to put a public vaping ban to a vote this November, but for some inexplicable reason, they tied the measure to a potential offshore drilling ban, meaning either both pass or neither do. It’s not even the first time that Connecticut has had to deal with these sorts of encroaching tactics. Last year their embattled Governor, Dannel Malloy, proposed a 75% vaping tax as a way to help mitigate the state’s growing budgetary concerns.
Luckily, not all the news is bad. For starters, most proposed taxes have failed to become law, at least at the hefty levels they were proposed at, such as Utah passing a 29% tax when 86.5% was originally intended. But bans equating vaping and smoking have had a much easier time being passed. Several states, including New York and New Jersey, recently passed moves that banned vaping in public spaces throughout the states. However, there is some growing hope. Alaska just last month voted against adding vaping to the state’s definition of “tobacco products,” preserving their rights. Vaping advocates hope that Alaska taking a stand will be a catalyst for other states to follow suit.
This is a critical fight for the future of the vaping industry. Legislators have proven to be altogether too quick to ban and tax vaping based on anecdotal evidence at best. When these laws are proposed, you’ll always hear lawmakers discuss the impact on teens and potential long-term effects. But what we know for sure is that smoking kills more people than almost anything else every year. We also know thanks to a growing body of evidence that vaping is much safer than tobacco by virtually any measure. Public Health England even went as far as to say that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking.
Regardless of these facts, vaping has become an easy target for politicians looking to produce extra tax revenue for covering up their mistakes, or merely just as a method of increasing their personal notoriety. The fact is that these legislators are hurting the public by legitimizing the belief that vaping and smoking as essentially the same. After all, why bother making a switch when you believe that you won’t be reducing your exposure to harm? If we genuinely want to end the smoking epidemic, we need to support vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Have vaping regulations affected you where you live yet? How can we fight back against unjustified vaping laws? Do you think that vaping should be regulated by the same rules as tobacco, if so why? 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.