The Prohibition of Flavored Vapes SB-793: California's Flavored Vape Ban 2020
SB-793 has been passed by an overwhelming 58-1 vote in California’s Assembly. If SB-793 is passed by California’s Senate, Governor Gavin Newsom has stated that he will sign it into action. If SB-793 is signed, all flavored vapor and tobacco products will be banned from being sold in brick-and-mortar locations in California, making it “the fifth state to ban face-to-face sales of flavored vaping products.” Regular tobacco cigarettes are not affected, but the ban includes menthol products which according to Black Voice News, promotes a borderline racist agenda since “it is fairly common knowledge that older African Americans are the primary users of menthol cigarettes.” The author of Amend SB 793, Now!, Rod Wright, also states that Hookah was excluded from the ban “out of respect to specific communities” and argues “that [the] same consideration should be given to the African American community.” In addition to Hookah, SB-793 also exempts loose-leaf tobacco and premium handmade cigars from the prohibition.
One in 20 American adults - 10.8 million people - vape recreationally or as a means to quit smoking. If the ban on flavored vape juices passes, former smokers will have four options: abstain from nicotine, nicotine replacement therapy, return to cigarettes, or buy on the black market. Quitting is already hard enough, but having to resort to nicotine patches or nicotine gum isn’t exactly what vapers signed up for. Vaping is a much easier transition from smoking since it still involves the oral fixation of bringing a device to your lips and inhaling. Returning to cigarettes isn’t an option for many people who have successfully quit smoking, especially when you take into account that combustible cigarettes “are estimated to be 20 times more harmful.” People who choose to buy on the black market aren’t going to be purchasing quality products and are therefore susceptible to health risks.
Prohibition has failed throughout history. Just look at the miscarriage of the 18th Amendment: The Prohibition of Alcohol which only lasted from 1920 to 1933 until it was repealed by the 21st Amendment. If there is not an immense amount of support for the suppression of a product or action, then it will ultimately fail. According to PBS, as a result of “the closing of breweries, distilleries, and saloons” thousands of Americans lost their jobs which coincided with The Great Depression. Lawmakers passed the Prohibition in hopes that money would be diverted to other industries like movie theaters, real estate, and clothing, but none of this occurred. Another “unintended economic consequence of Prohibition” was the slashing of government tax revenue. “Before Prohibition, many states relied heavily on excise taxes in liquor sales to fund their budgets. In New York, almost 75% of the state’s revenue was derived from liquor taxes.” In addition, just like SB-793, the Prohibition of Alcohol only prohibits selling, not possession or consumption, which allows for loopholes to evade the mandate. Since the ban does not cover at-home concocting, vape enthusiasts are now challenged to bootleg their own vape juices at home - “turning many of them into experts on how to make it.”
We are already in the midst of a global shutdown due to COVID-19. As claimed by Pew Research Center, unemployment in America has risen higher in three months than it did in two years of the Great Recession of 2008. As of May 2020, 20.5 million Americans are out of work. We don’t need new laws that will put even more people out of work.
According to Mt Baker Vapor, the vaping industry supports the economy in numerous ways. It helps save tax money on healthcare, generates tax revenue, and promotes higher employment rates. “For every $10 spent on healthcare in the U.S., 90 cents of it is due to smoking cigarettes.” Lawmakers should be focusing on the vape industry’s potential to improve healthcare funds. “Wells Fargo has estimated that $3.5 billion will be produced by the vaping industry this year .” Since Americans are still recovering from the financial downfall of 2008, an industry that has managed to survive and thrive during that time should be promoted not stifled. Furthermore, vaping has provided an entire industry of jobs that didn’t exist before Chinese inventor Hon Lik invented the e-cigarette in 2003. The vape industry requires people to operate brick-and-mortars, manage online stores, and design new hardware among many other possible jobs. Why do supporters of SB-793 want to destroy a prosperous community?
Contact your California Senate members here to request that they vote against SB-793.