Guest Editorial: Why the Big Push against Vaping?

By Recker McDowell

Vaping is the new smoking — in more ways than one.

Public health advocates and behavioral ‘normalists’ have vaping and e-cigarettes in their sights.

In a political and social culture where left and right hold dear to and fight over liberties ranging from guns to abortion, they seem to come together when it comes to restricting vaping.

Arizona State University has banned vaping adding it to its campus tobacco ban. ASU joins the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona in the restriction.

There has also been a push and pull over vaping at the Arizona Legislature this session including a measure pushed by industry and another by a top watchdog.

The debate has centered on whether to raise the legal vaping age to 21 or keep it at 18, whether to include vaping in the voter approved Smoke-Free Arizona Act which restricts smoking in public places and what kind of regulatory power sits with cities and counties.

Like with other regulatory issues, business interests prefer the Republican Legislature handle the issue over potential tougher city restrictions.

And like their cigarette ancestors, workplace policies and new taxes on vaping might not be far behind.

There are legitimate concerns about the health effects of vaping and use by high school students and younger.

On the flip side, there are also chronic pain sufferers who use vaping to take in CBD oil and medical marijuana. That should not be lost in current and future debates especially as we want to move chronic pain patients off of opioids.

There is also something inherent in well-intentioned lawmakers, university administrators and public health advocates that aims to regulate behavior.

They’ve done that smoking and other ‘unhealthy’ behaviors. Puritans have been around for ages.

Now, their target is vaping.

Yes, vaping can be annoying and we are still figuring out the health impacts. Plus like with scooters, there is generational judgment from older policy makers whether they are at a university, workplace or political body.

Vaping isn’t just a new smoking. It’s another new ‘thing’ that worries ‘parents’ beyond just mom and dad.

No vaping sign / Wikimedia Commons /
Mike Mozart