Stop the vape-mail ban that will hurt public health!

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Buried in the enormous spending/COVID-19 relief package that Congress approved this week is a bill that imposes new restrictions on the distribution of all vaping equipment, parts, and supplies, including a ban on mailing them. The provision illustrates not only how utterly irrelevant legislation can be slipped into unread, must-pass bills but also how Congress warps reality through legal fictions and uses save-the-children rhetoric to justify restricting adults' choices. Ultimately this will harm public health! Vaping is used by millions of smokers as a form of harm-reduction, many able to completely quit with the help of vaping.

The Government and Media in the US has been fear mongering and labelling vaping as evil, while the UK’s public health community has been sending a risk-proportionate message to the people it serves. Public Health England (PHE) commissioned the seminal independent 2015 evidence review that found e-cigarettes to be about 95 percent safer than combustibles. The agency and its Tobacco Control lead, Martin Dockrell, endorsed vaping for smoking cessation based on this evidence. Members of Parliament have even called for e-cigarettes to be prescribed for smokers in pharmacies, and some hospitals have vape shops!

The supporters of this bill argue that preventing the shipment of vapor products will prevent teens from getting their hands on it, and reduce youth usage. What they don’t tell you is that less than 6% of youth report buying vapor products online, according to the CDC’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Most young people report getting vapor products and other age-restricted products from friends, family, and informal sources–sources that are about to become much more popular after December. Meanwhile, cigarettes will remain the most visible and widely accessible tobacco product in the history of the world. 

While there is no shortage of talk in Congress about the importance of small businesses and social distancing, the decision to shove this ban in the middle of a pandemic relief package reveals how hollow that rhetoric is. Many Americans at risk of COVID-19 complications have been staying home and ordering their supplies online, but Congress just decided they should either pay much more for shipping or go to a retail store that may not stock the product they use to stay off deadly cigarettes. This is not a law designed to regulate the mail-order sale of vaping products to adults; it's an attempt to eliminate it. This will only create a harmful black-market, or force people to go back to cigarettes. Ultimately this is believed to be a way to push more Big Tobacco tax money into greedy politicians pockets at the cost of public health! 

This bill needs to be removed!!

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