After a long battle, voters in San Fran choose to allow a controversial new flavor ban. But what does it mean for the vaping industry there?
As vaping becomes more prevalent in society, there’s an increasing number of legislators who feel it’s time to begin reigning in the smoking cessation tools. In fact, between vaping bans and taxes, it’s becoming harder for citizens in certain places to use the harm reduction tools at all. Even the FDA is currently mulling over a potential ban on most e-liquid flavors, with their 90-day investigation period nearing its end.
That’s why all eyes were on San Francisco as they voted this week to ban all flavored tobacco products, the strictest ban in the country. Unfortunately, this ban also covered e-liquid flavors. As a result, it will be challenging for many vapers in the city to continue the harm reducing habit, likely leading them back to traditional cigarettes.
Vote On Prop E
The final vote on Proposition E was this past Tuesday, June 5th, 2018. Analysts predicted that the vote would come down to a slim margin, but in reality, the ban passed without much doubt, 62% to 32%. But this vote was just the final portion of a long and drawn out fight over flavored tobacco. Last year the city supervisors office in San Francisco voted unanimously to implement a ban on all flavored tobacco, including e-liquid. There was enough pushback from individuals and companies from affected industries to force the measure to be put to a public vote. Over the last several months both camps have been throwing time and money at the city to convince the public of their side.
All of this came down to a simple vote in which the citizens of the San Fran resoundingly decided a flavor ban is a good idea. After the final vote, both sides were quick to give their official responses. Those in favor of the ban see this as a huge victory for public health but fail to realize the negative consequences of banning e-liquid flavors along with those in traditional tobacco products. Regardless, the ban will become law and take effect in just a few short days, just barring an official certification of the vote.
The Effect Of Vaping Bans
While new flavor bans are becoming more popular, the research indicating the effect of such bans is severely lacking. In fact, one of the only studies on the topic of e-liquid flavors concluded that by banning them, legislators are only giving a distinct advantage to Big Tobacco. The study was conducted by Dr. John Buckell of Yale University and aimed to determine the eventual effect of vaping flavor bans on the vapers that use them. After interviewing over 2,000 former smokers and vapers, the team began to see some important results.
The conclusions were given as outcomes of different versions of a flavor ban, including whether or not e-liquid flavors were banned alongside traditional tobacco flavors. The team found that if all e-liquid flavors were banned alongside menthol cigarettes, over 8% of vapers would likely return to smoking traditional cigarettes. Alternatively, they determined that if only menthol cigarettes were banned, and not e-liquid flavors, sales of Big Tobacco products would ultimately drop by 5%.
Misguided bans are becoming all too common. While they’re pushed as an answer to the perceived growth in teenage vaping, the real world results are seldom that clear-cut. In fact, it seems that e-liquid flavor bans may be having the opposite effect. After all, Big Tobacco has nearly limitless resources to keep their products in the forefront of smoker and vapers minds, especially when the flavors that helped them quit smoking are no longer available.
The first step to improving this issue, and preventing further flavor bans is proper education. These problems consistently arise because there is a significant lack of awareness of the benefits of making a switch to vaping. A poll conducted by Action on Smoking and Health found that only around 13% of adults believe that vaping is much safer than smoking, while nearly 27% say that vaping is just as, if not more dangerous than cigarettes. These numbers must improve if vaping is ever to be fully accepted as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool.
Are you surprised that San Francisco voted to pass the flavor ban? How can we prevent further prohibitions like this from being passed? Do you agree that flavor bans on e-liquids will ultimately give an advantage to Big Tobacco? 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.
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