2019-2020 Commentary Slider — 22 November 2019
Regulate vapes, don’t ban them

By Jackie Chen

A controversy around vaping and the negative health effects caused by it has led to several states quickly passing laws to ban e-cigarettes with addictive nicotine. According to Time Magazine, these states include Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington, with Californian governor Gavin Newsom trying to raise awareness on the dangers of vaping. 

Some vape users say that vaping helped them stop their smoking habits, while others say the side effects of vaping on a person’s health outweigh the benefits. I argue that banning vaping and e-cigarettes is pointless and will lead to more harm than good.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were a reported 1,888 incidents with lung injuries and disease related to vaping within the U.S., along with 37 deaths as of October 29. These numbers are making people take action, but this level of action is not being taken against the cigarette industry which causes 480,000 deaths each year in the U.S. alone. The only efforts to combat smoking addictions currently are warning people to not use cigarettes and helping people stop their addictions before it hurts them, significantly less than looking for an entire ban on vapes. People should shift their focus on shutting down the tobacco companies that help kill hundreds of thousands each year from use of their products.

For now, those against vapes think banning them entirely will solve the current health crisis by not allowing people access to them. This might work in the short-term, when people are faced with not having their vapes, but it ends up causing more harm in the long term. 

People press the issue that this alternative to a smoking habit is still harmful, with similar ailments like coughing, chest pain, and even lung disease. However, most of these harmful effects have been proven to be caused by vaping products from the black market, according to an article from The Hill. A lack of legal options would force more vape users to these dangerous products. Banning legal vapes would force people to pick the illegal and more harmful option.

Outright banning products has happened before, with an example being the Alcohol Prohibition (1920-1933). Alcoholic drinks were banned within the United States, and it had unforeseen circumstances. Criminal violence rose as people tried to acquire their drinks illegally, while others decided to try to make their own that can be very toxic due to human error. If history repeats itself and the use of vapes was banned, those who use vapes would find illegal ways to get them that involve more health risks, in contrast to the goal of the ban. The side effects the public has worried about will rise due to an increased use of black market vapes and users moving on to the deadlier cigarettes.

Overall, banning vapes would cause negative health and social effects within the vaping community, and we need to do something to prevent it. We have the power to vote for our own representatives, so we should vote for those whose main agenda doesn’t revolve around banning vapes. Increasing the regulation on vapes and what goes in them is a simple idea that can have a huge impact on the negative stigma by lowering harm and death while also being able to serve a larger consumer audience that won’t end up resorting to potentially deadly black market vapes or cigarettes.

 

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