Senator Leno Drops SB140 Calling it a, "Dangerous Bill"
SB 140 was officially dropped by Sen. Leno in Sacramento on Wednesday saying his potent and potentially damming bill is too watered down to stand behind. "I no longer believe in it. None of my sponsors believe in it,” Leno continued to say, “I disassociate myself from it. It’s a very dangerous bill now." So why was Leno so hung up on SB 140 and basically demolishing all that is vaping by naming vaping a "tobacco product," thus raising the tax of vaping products in California to close to 70%? The answer is simple... money.
Leno is backed by pharmaceutical companies out the wazoo including: Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead, Astrazeneca, Baxter Healthcare, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Hoffman-Laroche, PHRMA, EMD Serono, and California Biotechnology. That's a lot of companies that are going to be really upset about the fact that these vaping products aren't being regulated to the extent they want. That's a lot of companies that will start to lose money from people quitting harmful substances like cigarettes. Some might say I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but we all know how the game works and we all know what makes the world go round and it's definitely not health. Who else backed the bill besides Leno? The American Heart Association and the American Lung Association; both non profits very interested in the health and well being of the country. But as stated before in my previous blog, Advocates and Big Tobacco... On the Same Side? this situation has turned into what scholars have called, "The Bootleggers and Baptists Phenomenon," where good hearted activists are on the same side of Big Tobacco unknowingly and pushing people to smoke even more to help Big Tobacco's bottom line.
How did the Vaping Community Come Together?
After multiple calls from our vaping community to assemblymen/women around California, four amendments were added to the bill somewhat fairly last minute. Some articles have called the added portions to the bill, "hostile amendments," however this is further from the truth. Not Blowing Smoke, SAFATA, American Vaping Association, and so many of the vaping community has banned together to show others the truth about our community and someone listened and voted to add amendments that were indeed necessary. The most important amendment was the recall of labeling e juice (and other related products) as "tobacco products." Leno insisted that because nicotine comes from tobacco and therefor is a tobacco product. What would have that bill meant without the amendment? "Vaping is as dangerous as cigarettes and should be taxed as such, thus putting thousands of companies out of business." (I'm paraphrasing in my own words.)
But I (and the vaping community) aren't the only one's that stood behind this same idea of tobacco and SB 140's danger. Assemblymen Perea (R) from Fresno agreed stating, "We have a whole group of individuals who will get caught up in this political, bureaucratic thing when they don’t have to be,” Perea said. “I don’t want there to be collateral damage for some folks.” THANK YOU MR. PEREA!
What do I have to Say about SB 140 being shut down?
What do I have to say about this?? Long live Not Blowing Smoke and the Californians that stood together to fight as one! Thank you to the people (all in the state of California and across the country) that supported Not Blowing Smoke and other advocacy. Thank you to everyone that supported Not Blowing Smoke by donating and reposting Call to Actions around the social media web! Thank you finally to Not Blowing Smoke, AVA, and SAFATA who fought for us with literally no form of payment in their pockets! Can you say dedicated and truly commendable?
Lastly, I want to remind us all that although we won this battle, there are many more to come. This was a huge win. Senator Leno pulled his own bill from vote, which makes the win that much sweeter, however, we have a lot more work to do. We need that vivacious voice to continue to yell from the mountains in the clouds (pun intended.) We need to keep in mind that the FDA is coming down the pike and we need to remind everyone to continue to fight and be the loud voice of truth that we have for the past year. Lastly I want to say, LIVE LONG AND VAPE ON!!