Vape enthusiasts across the country are talking about a proposed plan by President Donald Trump to ban e-cigarettes and flavored e-liquid. This vaping ban seeks to eliminate all e-cigarettes except for tobacco and menthol flavors from stores. This ban would not only prove devastating to businesses who would have to destroy large portions of their inventory without a return of their capital investment, but also manufacturers who find themselves without products to sell, and vapers who rely on these cartridges and e-juices instead of other tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. While the recent spate of deaths relating to vaping is concerning to everyone, both inside and outside the industry, the proposed ban would have no effect on the cause of those deaths.
While the federal ban is not yet in place, other governmental bodies are not waiting. New York has used emergency powers to enact an e-cigarette ban that mirrors the road map set by President Trump’s proposal. While it stands poised to devastate the hundreds of vape shops in New York State, opponents of vaping say it doesn’t go far enough and are urging even mint and menthol flavors to be added to the ban, despite even Governor Cuomo admitting some data shows these may help menthol smokers leave cigarettes behind. However, neither ban addresses the culprit behind the deaths. Michigan also jumped on the bandwagon to ban flavored e-cigarettes and e-juices, and more states are expected to follow.
Nicotine Vaping Is Not The Issue
According to Dr. Michael Siegel of the Boston University School of Public Health, “This outbreak does not appear to be associated with traditional legally-sold e-cigarettes, but with illicit and sometimes counterfeit THC vaping cartridges.” In looking at the reported deaths the e-cigarette ban is based on, it is potent THC vaping cartridges that have led to the loss of life. Based on oil extracted from marijuana plants, these cartridges are meant to allow marijuana users, whether medical or recreational, to get a strong dose of THC anytime, any place. Some cartridges can contain concentrations as high as 80%, in contrast to the most potent “buds” which deliver around a 30% concentration.
Worse, counterfeit THC cartridges are rampant in both the nominally legal and illegal marketplace. This has created a dangerous situation where users have literally no idea what they are putting into their body, prompting the CDC to suggest that people avoid THC cartridges altogether. A vaping ban on nicotine products, however, is unlikely to curb this issue.
At the federal level, marijuana and its derivative products remain a schedule 1 controlled substance, meaning it’s seen as highly addictive and dangerous, without any therapeutic use. Even in states that have asserted their rights to control and regulate marijuana within their own borders, growers, manufacturers, distributors, and patients are still in violation of federal law, and only an agreement between the federal and growing number of state governments legalizing some form of marijuana holds prosecution at bay. An additional federal law in the form of an e-cigarette ban is unlikely to have any more success than current statutes.
Since nicotine based e-liquids are not causing the deaths the ban is based on, subjecting them to a ban is nothing more than fulfilling the need to do something for the sake of appearances. Essentially, this is a shell game where rather than addressing the real concern, THC cartridges, officials are placing the blame on a legal industry that operates fully within the law. It would have no practical effect on the issue, and a dramatic effect on the livelihood of small business owners caught in the crosshairs of an e-cigarette ban for no reason.
What You Can Do
Start by educating yourself about not just this ban, but the larger issues surrounding governmental attempts to stop responsible adults from vaping how they deem best. From allegations that vaping is marketed toward kids (adults love cotton candy too) to the idea that vaping is as dangerous as cigarettes (which data disproves), knowing the facts is the first step to combating ignorance. Become a vocal vaper, and speak out for your rights to protect your lifestyle. Be on the look-out for petitions meant to fight e-cigarette bans, whether they come from the President of the United States, your state’s governor, or your local city council.
Keep Your Lifestyle Elevated
You can count on us to do two things: keep you supplied with the best e-liquids or nic salts and keep you informed about threats to your vaping rights. While the proposed federal vaping ban is a situation still developing, we’ll make sure to keep you informed about e-cigarette ban news and opportunities to make your voice heard. Keep chucking clouds and watch the Elevated Vaping blog for future updates.