How Did The Government Get Vaping So Wrong?



How Did We End Up Here?

By Schell Hammel, Owner Of The Vapor Bar and MTL Vapors



By Schell Hammel, Owner Of The Vapor Bar and MTL Vapors

I know you all agree with me on this - How Has The United States Government gotten this so wrong.

We need to focus on cancer-causing agents in tobacco, as opposed to nicotine, which is not a carcinogen.

Let’s break this down:

  1. If the HHS has it right, and 90% of the US smokers began smoking before the age of 18, and,
  2. According to the UK, the e-cig user numbers are over-powering the cigarette users, then,
  3. One could reasonably conclude that 50% or more of smokers have been successful with using e-cigs as an alternative to cigarettes, which
  4. The College of Royal Physicians has deemed to be at least 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

Is this not a win for us? Does this not exemplify that this new technology is a blessing to our community?

So why does the Tobacco 21 law include e-cigs? This seems very contradictory to what they are trying to achieve.

Let’s pull back the curtain a bit, shall we?

In DC a few months ago, I was having breakfast in a popular hotel restaurant close to the Capitol. I briefly overheard an individual pitching to an administrator the glamour that would come from having a panel on the Tobacco 21 law that is being pushed across the country. He encouraged the administrator that it would be “juicy” and could prove to be newsworthy for his organization.

Later, in the Texas legislature regarding the proposed Tobacco 21 law, we found the representatives constantly proclaiming that:

1)    they were not convinced many individuals within 18-21 were using vaping products as an alternative, and....

2)    that Tobacco-Free Kids had presented them with data that proved vaping products were a gateway to the use of cigarettes.

When the bill was read, the fiscal note was in the ballpark of $60 million over a session period of two years.

The representatives were very unsupportive initially, based on the huge amount the state would lose in sales tax from the 18-21 age group. But later, one of the organizations that support Tobacco-Free Kids testified that the fiscal note would not be nearly as large as they are projecting, using previous states like California and Hawaii to come to this conclusion.

Furthermore, they estimated that at least 30% OR MORE of smokers would fail to comply with this new law if it were enacted.

You could physically see them relax after hearing this statement, and they even argued during my testimony that they anticipated it to be lower based on non-compliance. We had one after another testify that they had used vaping products to lay tobacco down, resulting in the bill author proclaiming that maybe they should reconsider vapor products more closely in the bill. The bill was voted on behind closed doors and placed on the calendar in the same fashion, to be heard on the floor. Amendments that were adopted during that meeting did not address vapor products.

So, following logic, the fiscal note of $60 million was a reason for them to push back. Once the fiscal note was lowered, due to them anticipating many would not comply, they were more in favor of the bill and subsequently passed it out of committee in closed session.

We were told a dozen times or more that this bill to increase the legal age to 21 for sales of tobacco or vapor products was essentially because they wanted this age group to be dissuaded from smoking/vaping.

However, in the same breath, they said they do not expect a large percentage of existing smokers/vapers to comply with this law, which would lower the fiscal note.

So doesn’t that mean they are happy, even HOPEFUL, that individuals between 18-21 will continue to smoke/vape unlawfully, so the sales tax will still come in and the fiscal note not be so large?

Does this not go completely against what they say their goal is?

Our legislators who passed the Tobacco 21 bill out of committee are banking on the assumption that a large percentage of existing smokers/vapers DO NOT FOLLOW THE LAW, continue to smoke/vape and buy products, so that they can reap the tax benefits of those sales.

How is this helping anyone? It is only making a large number of young adults criminals. Our state legislators are actually HOPING they will become criminals!

Going even further, you can be tried as an adult at 18, buy a gun at 18, vote for the leader of our country at 18, make serious health decisions with doctors at 18, and so on… But you can’t be trusted to make very BASIC decisions about your health?

Where does it end? What will they decide for us next? These are not children. They are ADULTS. If you would like to label them children, you must adopt a federal law doing so. Otherwise, it is over-reaching and nannying, in my opinion.

We have gone so far off the grid in this country that we can’t see the forest for the trees anymore.

This is their logic: Smokers are getting off tobacco by using vapor products, so let’s demonize and over-regulate them and send everyone back to tobacco. Tobacco is known to cause cancer, whereas vapor products are not, so let’s make sure they are harder to get, tax them, over-regulate them, and nit pick them to death with state laws that are sure to push the smoker away from using them. Let’s continue to believe all the horse stories that circulate on Facebook and tainted websites, and ignore the most prominent physician group in the world.

Where is the logic in any of this?

If you have ever had an individual pass away due to a tobacco-related illness, do you not wish they’d had this alternative at their disposal prior to getting ill? It’s worth fighting for. Make sure you dissect their logic for them when they speak to you. Many of these organizations and groups paint a picture for them that is glamorous to their cause, which generally revolves around money. Help them to see why this is not so glamorous to those dying in hospitals across the country or loved ones that will suffer due to their lies.

Stay the course, and don’t get caught up in their convoluted reasoning or dissuaded by their continuous push against us.

Stay strong and diligent and don’t forget -- For every fight, we win a life. It’s that simple.

Gabriel Benson