Legalization, Not Restriction, is the Solution to the Vaping Crisis
The recent string of vaping illnesses reported in the United States led to a knee-jerk reaction by legislators to either ban or restrict all vaping products. Now, an entire industry is teetering on the verge of destruction.
But this is hardly surprising. Banning or maintaining the illegality of something perceived as dangerous is usually the default when it comes to public health and safety (with some exceptions). In light of the lessons we learned from the failed War on Drugs, it is hard to believe that lawmakers are so keen to resort to this course of action.
According to Forbes, prohibition is not the solution – in fact, it is just the opposite.
Legalization the “Most Responsible Solution”
Reactions to the vaping problem have been mixed. Some leaders, such as President Trump, want to ban all flavoured vape juices – something completely unrelated to the issue at hand.
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker banned all vape products for four months after declaring a “public health emergency” – ironically forgetting about the over 400,000 people per year who die from tobacco use in the U.S.
Forbes is quick to point out that this will not solve anything:
“While these actions may be well meaning, they are likely to only exacerbate the problem. If policy makers truly want to reduce or eliminate vaping-related illnesses, the most responsible solution would be to fully legalize marijuana nationwide, and ensure robust regulation, oversight, and education for users of both cannabis and nicotine vape products.”
Smoking rates are an excellent example of harm reduction due to education and oversight. Tobacco use is at an all-time historical low thanks to tight restrictions and massive public awareness campaigns. Had the government responded to the truth about tobacco by suddenly banning the product, it would have led to a massive economic loss and booming black market.
The problem is the same thing is going to happen with vapes, be they for marijuana or nicotine.
Some States Stand by THC Vape Industry
Not all states are so quick to react. For instance, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Health made a statement vouching for the safety of their legal vape products and discouraged individuals from purchasing illegal ones.
California went one step further:
“Instead of ordering an outright ban, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would seek to expand warning labels on vaping products, start a $20 million public awareness campaign about the dangers of vaping, and increase enforcement against counterfeit products.”
This approach will not have the instant, short-term effect against vaping that President Trump or Governor Baker wanted, but long-term success – if past drug/smoking campaigns are any indication – is highly likely.
Perhaps the most ironic development in this whole situation is the response to greatly restrict nicotine vapes. Anti-vaping groups and lawmakers alike associate the practice with smoking, rather than tobacco harm reduction.
Yet in their supposed interest in protecting public health, these legislators are opening up something much worse. Forbes explains:
“Without access to legal and regulated vape cartridges [and bottled e-liquids] they [vapers] will face two options: obtain illicit-market nicotine vape cartridges produced in an unregulated facility and with no way of knowing what additives and cutting agents may be present in the cartridge, or go back to smoking cigarettes. It’s true that we don’t fully understand the long-term health effects of vaping. But we certainly understand the long-term effects of cigarette smoking, and it is one of the most destructive things a person can do for their long-term health. Driving people back to cigarettes is guaranteed to cause catastrophic public health problems.”
Unfortunately, those responsible for driving these anti-vaping campaigns will not see the damage until it is too late.
WeedAdvisor’s Strong Support for a Regulated Industry
The legalization effort has plenty of valid supporting arguments, but this recent vape crisis makes for a strong – and urgent – case.
Although things look less than favourable at the moment, we strongly believe that regulators will eventually come to their senses once the initial wave of panic subsides. When this happens, WeedAdvisor looks forward to working with manufacturers and dispensaries to offer our own business solutions.
With our help, companies will have an easy time keeping track of inventory, maintaining compliance and catching accidental infractions that could harm consumers and result in large fines.