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The Danger of Banning Vaping

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Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, said that the Food and Drug Administration would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market, excluding tobacco flavors. The ban would include mint and menthol, popular varieties that manufacturers have argued should not be considered flavors. -The New York Times

A vaping ban would be harmful. Not only is it a breach of our autonomy and freedom of choice, but it is also unfounded. In the ~15 years we've had vaping, there have been no deaths; only in the past couple weeks have we seen six, all linked to black market THC cartridges with poor ingredients. That's not to say vaping is healthy, but it is to say that vaping is certainly more safe than smoking. We see 480,000 smoking deaths per year, making it the leading preventable cause of death. That's just in the United States. Every year, we see 7 million deaths caused by smoking worldwide.

So why do Trump and the FDA want to ban flavored vaping? I'd say it's to pander to those who don't know better; it is easy to accuse something of harming children to make it easy to ban. I suppose this is because parents' first priority is to protect their children and they don't want to take risks. The Democrats do this with school shootings; even though it's extremely unlikely that any child dies in a school shooting, they're still an easy way to grab the attention of voters and make an issue of. After all, no one wants to see their child shot. Basically, this is Trump attempting to pander to parents. If he looks like he's trying to save minors from the 'dangers' of vaping, he could win new voters in 2020.

I think it's reasonable to slap fines onto the companies that market to minors. After all, minors should not use any nicotine based products due to their addictive nature, and it is unethical for companies like Juul to market to young people like me, knowing that we have difficulty saying no. However, an all-out ban on flavored vaping is still ridiculous. What will we do with the thousands of nicotine addicted teens? Will they simply turn to harsher forms of nicotine, like cigarettes or dip?

As much as it pains me to say this, more regulation and legalization is the answer here. Making THC cartridges safely accessible on the legal market will cut down on illegally and dangerously made ones, and could even curb underage use. I must stress again: these vaping deaths are not from nicotine. They're from shoddily made black market THC cartridges that have dangerous chemicals inside. Will banning flavored vaping stop it? I don't think it will. After all, it's already illegal for underage use, and that has done nothing.

Banning flavored vaping is an overreach of government power into our lives. While vaping isn't healthy, it is our right to make choices for ourselves. If someone chooses to make an unhealthy choice, what right does the inefficient bureaucracy have to tell that person what they cannot do? Alcohol is legal, cigarettes are legal, and marijuana is legal (in many places). This proposed ban is yet another attempt to take power away from the people and place it into the hands of government. Why don't we just ban guns while we're at it?

Fri, 13 Sep 2019 22:13:57 -0500