Flavor bans are trying to be enforced all over the Bay Area, and unless vapers organize quickly, they may be powerless to stop the onslaught. A law passed in 2016 defined nicotine e-liquid as a “tobacco product”, emboldening tobacco control politicians to try and force through further anti-vaping legislation.
California might love CBD chocolate, but it’s vehemently against vaping, and the University of California-San Francisco is one of the strongest advocates for tobacco control in the nation. Most prominent is Professor Stanton Glantz, who’s produced a plethora of sketchy research highlighting the supposed negatives of vaping.
Giving Cigarette Smokers an Alternative
Making flavored vape oil illegal is the intention of these tobacco control folk, who would rather smokers be left with no alternative. Perhaps there are good intentions in wanting smokers to quit, but it only helps Big Tobacco companies if they are left with no healthier substitute. But unfortunately, the majority of health groups don’t recognize the benefits of harm reduction, with the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society among others supporting this Bay Area legislation.
Is all hope lost for vapers? Not quite, but we are going to need to organize quickly, and push a personal argument focussing on how vaping is helping real people on a daily basis.
Right now, AdultsLikeFlavors.org from the Not Blowing Smoke team is the site to help get informed, and Stefan Didak, who lives in the Bay Area, is the driving force behind the efforts.
Board of Supervisors Meeting on June 13
The Board of Supervisors is set to meet on June 13 at 9am in Contra Costa to mull over the ban – which will apply to flavored e-liquids as well as pod units and cigalikes – and it’d be great to get vapers and vendors along to help get our point across.
Public Hearing in San Francisco on June 14
San Francisco will hold a public hearing at 10.30am on June 14 concerning the proposed ordinance 170441. Supervisor Malia Cohen of District 10 introduced it in April.
Vapers have realized they are under attack and are fighting back with the angle that San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area are supposedly supporters of harm reduction methods, and that this ordinance goes totally against them. An open letter signed by the Log Cabin Republicans, the CASAA and more has also been sent to the supervisors to let them know they aren’t going to be pushing this legislation through easily. It’s an encouraging start, but more work is needed.
Act Now, Not Later!
It’d be very easy but ultimately silly for vapers to underestimate the threat of such legislation and not act until it’s in place. While there is a movement to stop it, numbers speak louder than words and getting as many vapers and business people outside the city hall on June 14 will do far more to attract attention than any article in a newspaper.
There’s no pressure on you to speak, although you may if you wish! What’s important is that we get as many vapers together from as many demographics as possible to show that this is a diverse movement – that will certainly help to get our voices heard.
If you’re not free on June 14, then you can still give the supervisors your two cents by sending either a pre-written or personalized message. Just get your word in now before they have the opportunity to take this prohibitive legislation any further.
Will San Leandro and Oakland Be Next?
San Leandro and Oakland have also hinted at enacting similar laws, although both cities have, for now, postponed their public hearings. The former was stifled by vaping advocates who spoke loudly on why banning vape oil flavors would be counter-productive, resulting in the law going back to the rules committee. The murmurs are that the revised version will come in September.
The proposed Oakland ban was postponed after local business owners took umbrage with it, although it’s unlikely to take until September for this law to get back on the agenda. Oakland city council is notorious for being a bit hapless, which could work in vapers’ favor, but with the anti-vapers on the march, we cannot rely on them simply messing up.
What tobacco control pushers try to do is equate flavored vaping to other flavored tobacco products, and try to get them banned that way – they know that on their own the attempts will fail. It’s rarely about informing and ethically getting legislation passed. At present, it’s flavored cigars and blunt wrappers that are proving a genuine concern to Bay Area citizens. Anti-vapers are unsurprisingly arguing that it’s only Big Tobacco who would oppose such legislation. As far as flavored CBD cigarettes and blunt wrappers go, it’s only smaller, independent stores that would suffer.
Where California Goes, America Follows
California seems to be the pioneer state for just about anything, so don’t underestimate the power and traction that flavored bans there could take on the rest of the country. You might not be directly affected now, but if the tobacco control gang get their way, you soon will be.