San Francisco has finally done it. They’ve banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products, which includes menthol cigarettes and flavored e-juice. That might even include tobacco-flavored e-juice since technically that’s a flavor too.
Proposition E passed with 68% of voters for the ban.
Now vapers in San Francisco will need to go out of the city to get flavored e-juice, buy online, or go back to smoking regular cigarettes. It’s a poor decision overall and does nothing but hurt small businesses in the city.
I think we all saw this coming when it was first proposed by San Francisco’s lawmakers.
It really doesn’t come as a surprise to me for four reasons;
- San Francisco, and really California in general, is so gung-ho on regulating vaping out of existence that they just aren’t willing to listen to reason
- The vaping community just doesn’t have the power in numbers we need to fight laws like this
- The non-vaping public doesn’t understand the differences between vaping and smoking
- Vape businesses aren’t doing their part
Ok, so there’s not much to say about California’s hatred of vaping. I don’t mean the residents. I’m talking about the nanny-state regulators. It is what it is.
We Aren’t Big Enough To Fight Back
I’m not saying that there aren’t people in the community passionate enough about vaping to fight back, because there are. I think most of us who spend time on YouTube, listening to vape podcasts, reading vape news… we’re all willing to spread the word, sign petitions, call our congressmen, and so on. But it’s just not enough.
I think there are even some people in the community who think there’s nothing they can do or they feel like one voice isn’t going to make a difference. But you have to remember that your voice can reach multiple people, and their voice can reach even more people. That’s how it spreads. We have to fight back, even if we think nobody is listening.
Sometimes we get enough people to make enough noise that it works, and sometimes we don’t. We don’t always fail. I think as a community we are extremely strong and can make change happen, as long as we are consistent.
We Aren’t Reaching Non-Hobbyist Vapers
I also believe one of our biggest problems is that there are a ton of vapers who just don’t pay attention to vape news. They don’t really know what’s going on until it’s too late.
It’s not their fault.
These are just normal people just trying to quit smoking. That’s it. They don’t care about the hobby aspect. These are the people we need to reach, and so far we’ve failed to do it.
But what’s the right approach? Can vaping advocacy groups like CASSA organize grassroots campaigns? Can trade organizations like the VTA or SFATA use funds to pay for TV and radio commercials? Can they run paid ads on social media to reach people in cities to warn them about anti-vaping laws about to pass where they live? I think so.
I’m sure you’ve heard the popular saying from Albert Einstein;
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
Yeah…that’s how I feel about the trade organizations in the vaping industry.
Why Are Vape Businesses Sitting Back and Doing Nothing?!
And finally, what about vape shops, distributors, and manufacturers?
I can’t believe the lack of support we get from vape businesses overall. You’d think that these companies would care the most because this is their business we’re talking about here.
Their livelihoods! And employees jobs!
There ARE some good businesses out there advocating, but it’s obvious that the majority of them aren’t.
And what’s so confusing to me is that it doesn’t have to be hard to do your part. Maybe your business runs on thin margins and you can’t afford to donate money. Well then, put posters up on the wall and on the door, talk to customers before they leave, hand them advocacy print-outs with their receipts.
Both Massachusetts and New York have since tried proposing flavor bans, but both have been pulled. (sometimes we do come out with enough force!)
This is just the beginning and I believe it opens up the door for more laws like this to pass. The question is, who will jump first, the anti-vaping groups or the vaping community?
Is this is the kick in the ass that the vaping community needs to take this more seriously, or will everyone just sit back and wait until it happens in their city?