Palo Alto’s New Vaping Ban Brings Industry To Breaking Point
The coronavirus crisis has led to commercial chaos that has devastated the global economy. As municipalities across the world deal with the struggles of balancing ballooning budgets against reduced tax revenue, some are willingly exacerbating that grim economic reality.
The Palo Alto City Council voted for the complete ban on the sale of all vapor products within their jurisdiction. As a direct result, several area vape shops are in fear for their future, including the area’s historic Mac’s Smoke Shop.
These small mom-and-pop vape shops have been devastated by a series of state and federal regulations directly impacting their bottom line and have been pushed to their brink due to the coronavirus’s shutdowns. Now, during their most desperate time of need, lawmakers feel the need to impose extraneous measures and further burden these overwhelmed local businesses.
Common sense criticisms of the new measure include the basic notion that adults have the right to access vices, that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking and an effective form of cessation, and that killing these small businesses during a period of economic turmoil doesn’t make any sense. Anti-vaping activists who spoke in favor of the measure stated that it’s the only way to protect teens and prevent the area from becoming a vaping destination.
The Palo Alto City Council voted 4-3 in favor of passing a ban on all vaping products and flavored tobacco. It notably rejected a proposed exemption by city staff that would allow adult-only smoke and vape shops to continue selling these products.
Now, the area’s five small local smoke shops say they’re in fear for their futures following the passage, including the historic Mac’s Smoke Shop that has been in steady operation since 1934. City Manager Ed Shikada notes that these small businesses earn as much as 60% of their revenue from the now prohibited products.
Councilman Eric Filseth joined Councilwoman Lydia Kou in their crusade to shut down these small businesses that serve and employ those in the community. He appeared to recognize the thoughtless nature of the faux-moral-driven vote during these trying times, noting, “It’s a crappy year to be introducing further hardships on any business,” but continuing with his vote regardless.
Mayor Adrian Fine has stated that adults have the right and freedom to partake in vices if they so choose, questioning why the city’s liquor stores and dispensaries aren’t under fire as well. Additionally, Councilman Tom DuBois spoke out, stating that the ban is the prime example of government overreach and that the vape shops affected by the ban have no history of enforcement violations.
Current data indicates vaping is remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation. Research published in the journal Addiction found that vaping helped up to 70,000 British smokers quit in 2017 alone.
Vaping is so remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation that studies show it may be the single greatest tool we have to help adult smokers quit. Research from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than going cold-turkey.
In addition to being proven as an effective smoking cessation aid, research repeatedly shows that vaping is less harmful than smoking. In fact, landmark research conducted by Public Health England found vaping to be 95% safer than smoking.
Evidence also suggests that vaping poses a lower cumulative risk over a lifetime compared to smoking. Research published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower chance of developing cancer compared to smokers.
As noted by Councilman DuBois, this ban is a prime example of government overreach. The fact that the government would willingly exercise such dramatic overreach during these trying times demonstrates that the four council members who voted in favor of the ban do not care about their constituency, only their careers.
Palo Alto’s vaping industry and community must stand together and push back against the council in any capacity they can. Your freedom isn’t simply given back once it’s taken, you need to fight for it and defend it any time it is under siege.
How do you think Palo Alto’s flavor ban will impact vapers and the local industry moving forward? What do you think the larger impact of this crisis will be on the the vaping community? We would love to know what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
(Image Credit – Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/images/id-105181/)
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