The Wider Impact of Vaping Regulation in the USA
Could Recent Vaping Legislation in California Impact E-cig Use in the EU?
For 20 years the state of California has been a trendsetter in the field of regulating traditional smoking.
Their pioneering workplace smoking regulation (very similar to Ireland’s own smoking ban) dates back as far as 1995, and the state’s approach to smoking in proximity to public buildings was updated in 2004.
One of the names often associated with anti-smoking legislation in California is Assemblyman Marc Levine. Levine has officially proposed a ban of smoking inside all multi-unit residences, such as condominiums or apartments, where housing units share walls, floor, ceilings or ventilation systems.
That’s right – a prominent Californian Democrat would ban smoking in millions of people’s private homes. The Huffington Post reports that the bill – which had its supporters but ultimately failed to pass – would have banned traditional smoking in 1/3 of the state’s private residences.
These proposals shouldn’t come as a big shock in a state like California, where just over 10% of people smoke cigarettes, making it one of the lowest smoking rates in America, behind only Utah.
Considering California’s history of heavily regulating cigarettes and other nicotine-related products, the state’s reaction to vaping comes as a surprise. In recent months, the ‘Sunshine State’ has held back on restrictive anti-vaping regulations. Could this mean that people are finally seeing the distinction between vaping and traditional smoking?
A proposed anti-vaping bill failed to pass in California earlier this month. Nature.com reports: “The California bill, pushed by State Senator Mark Leno (Democrat), would have regulated e-cigarettes in the same way as conventional tobacco products, making it illegal to use them in restaurants, bars, hospitals and workplaces. Leno withdrew the bill on July 8th, after a committee in the state assembly amended it to such an extent that he said it had become pointless.”
“Even if the FDA does regulate e-cigarettes,” says the news site, “it will still be up to local law-makers to decide where the devices can be used, and how much they will be taxed.”
The report also quoted the opinions of Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association in Washington DC. “Any time they are vaping, they’re not smoking a cigarette. That’s a win,” she says.
Indeed the proposed bill generated much debate, especially among local vaping-related business owners and their unions. According to a report in the LA Times, in April of this year, employees from Californian vaping parlours rallied at the California State Capitol to protest against a measure that would restrict e-cigarettes in many public places.
The debate in America, state-by-state, continues. Ultimately, American attitudes and laws could bear a big influence on EU and Irish legislation, so it’s reassuring to know that in the Californian debate, both sides are being heard.