Los Angeles Bans Electronic Cigarettes In Public Spaces
Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, has followed New York in banning electronic cigarettes in public spaces, including bars and clubs. The one major difference is that Los Angeles exempted vape lounges and e-cig stores from this law—something that New York did not do.
Vapers and vendors alike are not only concerned, but also outraged at what is widely believed as a pre-emptive strike against a product that many believe does much more good than harm. With virtually no definitive scientific testing on first-hand, let alone second-hand effects of electronic cigarettes, municipality by municipality, bans and restrictions are being imposed on sales and use.
The Federal government is now heavily considering national regulation through the FDA. If this were to happen, we will see prices of vaping products spike, as there will be a slew of new fees, taxes, and fines. Additionally, the FDA would require approval of products, ingredient lists on bottles, etc., which will further add to the cost of production and therefore the end cost of these products.
However, higher prices of products is not the only cost to the vaping community. Innovation will be deeply hurt, as the electronic cigarette industry is the fastest growing and most vibrant small business in the United States today. Meeting FDA regulations will eliminate many of the smaller companies who would not be able to afford doing so. The fastest fashion in which to kill innovation within any industry is to heighten the barriers to entry. Unfortunately, unless something is done to moderate these regulatory impositions, this is precisely what the future of the electronic cigarette industry holds.
Another obvious negative consequence is that these regulations will ultimately deter smokers from using electronic cigarettes to quite. Although they cannot be advertised as “smoking-cessation devices,” any smoker who has used them to quit will attest to the same fact: they work, and they work well. Why would government bodies impose such unnecessary restrictions on a product that has not been proven to cause any harm whatsoever? At first, the fear was that the big tobacco companies would be fighting against electronic cigarettes; however, the opposite proved to be the truth. Tobacco companies are heavily invested in the electronic cigarette industry, and are finally able to promote, sell, and market a product that they have had such a difficult time doing—especially in the United States. So, then, the question remains: why is the government so concerned with regulation of electronic cigarettes?
Although the true motive is unknown, on the surface the opponents of electronic cigarettes claim that they are concerned about children under 18-years-old who are reportedly vaping. They call it an “epidemic.” Although most are in agreement that electronic cigarettes should be limited to adults over the age of 18, a single law requiring signature for Internet sales and an ID check for in-store sales would do the trick. Extending this ban to indoor public spaces, and in some cases even outdoor areas, is truly excessive.
It is critical for vapers and proponents of electronic cigarettes to ban together and actively voice their opinions on the topic. This can be done locally as much as it can on Capitol Hill. The government needs to be aware of how many people are impacted by their extreme regulations, in an effort to make decisions more fairly. As long as they do not feel pressure from the other side, they will continue to over-regulate and undermine one of the only thriving industries in the United States today.