A legal battle of the vapes reaches New England
Samantha Scetta, Editor-in-Chief
Governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have almost simultaneously decided to control and regulate the sales of vape products in their respective New England states. Gov. Charlie Baker of our neighboring state issued a four-month long ban on all vaporizing products last Tuesday, including but not limited to vape cartridges, the infamous Juul products and the lesser known SOL vapor products. Gov. Gina Raimondo issued a similar order, halting the sales of all flavored e-cigarette products. Last Thursday Raimondo signed an order directly to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to enact emergency rules and regulations regarding the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in a response to the recent nation-wide spike in vape related illnesses such as seizures and lung disease.
Why only ban the flavored products? Well, the answer is simple. Many reputable scientific studies and legal analyst surveyists have determined that by making flavors such as “strawberry milk” and “cappuccino”, Juul is directly targeting a younger population, hooking them on nicotine by the use of friendly and interesting flavors.
As of yet, there has been no official legal action taken against e-cigarette companies directly regarding vape related illnesses. Raimondo claims that vaping has become a public health crisis, and she has gathered from parents, teachers, coaches and her own personal experience as a mother that it is a rising problem among RI youth.
There are currently many conflicting opinions on the bans made by New York, Mass. and now Rhode Island. Some public health experts fear that the increase on vape bans by government officials will be deleterious to the population of individuals using these products to wean off of cigarettes, and some praise the bans on products as it will give scientists and medical professionals more time to determine the effects of chronic vaping on the human body and the impact that the ban of these sales will have on the younger population.
RIC freshman and former habitual Juul user Garet Reilly has used e-cigarettes for the past two years. When asked what he thinks of the ban, he stated that he believes the Juul has been a gateway to cigarette usage the entire time they have been circulated. “The reason as to why they would be banned with such little evidence is because the big tobacco companies know they’re losing money and customers. Once the ban passes in its entirety, these people are left with two choices-- quitting cold turkey, or using tobacco products.”
Currently, there have been nine deaths and 530 illnesses attributed to vaping. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still unsure of what exactly causes these illnesses, but according to the RIDOH spokesman Joseph Wendelken, “a significant number of them involve vaping cartridges with THC,” the active component in marijuana.
The emergency health regulations regarding vaping are currently still being drafted by RIDOH.