With Governor Chris Christie imminently leaving office, many vapers are worried about exactly what that will mean for the ban Christie has already vetoed twice.
New Jersey is faced with a potential ban on flavored e-liquids for the third time. Both of the first attempts passed through the legislature before being vetoed by Governor Chris Christie. His motives for such a move have been brought into question, with former spokesman, Kevin Roberts, now representing Logic Technology, the third largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the United States. But regardless of why, Christie’s decision to veto the legislation twice was a god send for the countless vapers and shop owners across the garden state. But as Gov. Christie’s cannot run for re-election, the future of the flavor ban will very much be in question come next year.
Reasoning For The Ban
One of the main reasons you’ll always hear from lawmakers about prohibition is that we must protect the children. While this is true, working to actually understand the specifics is not as popular of a position as knee-jerk bans. Such is the case with New Jersey and the flavor ban. If anything Christie’s vetoes have helped foster New Jersey’s 5th lowest rate of smoking in the country, opponents of the ban argue they would only start to reverse these trends. Besides, many studies have now found that there is no real indication that picking up vaping makes you more likely to pick up cigarettes. Most recently, the usually very anti-vaping CDC released a report on the smoking and vaping rates of middle and high school students. They found that over the last two years vaping rates in teens has actually dropped alongside the traditional smoking rate. This was after a period where the usage rate of alternative “tobacco” products such as hookahs and e-cigarettes rose alongside a drop in traditional cigarette use. The easiest conclusion is that after an initial bump in usage due to their “newness”, teenagers who don’t already smoke are not attracted to picking up vaping.
It’s also important to note that even if the rate was still rising, many experts are starting to agree that vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. This clearly makes e-cigarettes the lesser of two evils. If this ends up being as true as it appears, then equating vaping with smoking is actively hurting any smoker who may have tried vaping if they understood the real harm reduction value. By forcing a false narrative about the dangers of e-cigarettes, policy makers are only helping to keep people addicted to extremely deadly combustible cigarettes.
The Fight In New Jersey
As mentioned before, the only thing that kept this ban from becoming law in New Jersey twice now has been the pen of Gov. Christie. With the governor leaving office after the election in November, many vapers in New Jersey are rightfully worried that the ban will make it through the whole process this time. It stands to reason that no matter who wins the election, whether it’s the Republican Kim Guadagno or the Democrat Phil Murphy, the flavor ban is still in danger of being signed into law. Although it is never a sure thing when it comes to politicians and their campaign promises.
There have already been a few hearings concerning the flavor ban, but neither did much to improve the situation. The first one turned into an advertising blitz and the second one had an extremely poor turnout. Looking at all of this, you can start to see how the vapers of New Jersey face an uphill battle in regards to their vaping rights. Worse yet, the ban would likely close many of the vape shops across the state says Tristan Thompson, leader of the Vaping Legion Advocacy Group.
Battles like this will set the stage for the larger fight around vaping. If laws like this are able to take sweeping effect across the country, it could cripple the industry enough to allow big tobacco to fully take control of the electronic cigarette sector. They’ll likely be the only companies big enough to mitigate the compounding issue of bans and sky high taxes. So it is more important now than ever to make sure your voice is heard. If we can present a united front, it will be easier to prevent legislators from destroying an industry that’s actively saving millions of lives.
What do you think about the proposed flavor ban? Do you think that it will pass once Chris Christie leaves office? How can we make sure that similar bans are not implemented all across the country? Let us know what you think in the comments.