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The “Banned” Wagon and What’s Really Killing the Children

By Celina Simmons and Jade Densmore

Massachusetts: vape shop owners are done. Oregon: emergency six-month ban. New York State: emergency 90 day ban, then revoked? Even the Trump administration is hopping on the “banned” wagon. 

It’s happening all over. State governments are placing emergency bans on vape juice and other vape products, but why? And where is this back and forth controversy coming from? Confusion, pure confusion. 

At least 18 deaths have been reported so far in 15 different states from “vape related illnesses,” according to a Washington Post article posted on October 8th, 2019. Since vaping is such a new phenomena and no one really knows what the risks are, people got scared. An uproar was created through word of mouth and thus, the ban was born. But who has looked into the details?

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Illustration by Morgan Dyer

Numerous articles have reported that upwards to 78% of these “illnesses” have been caused from THC-containing vape cartridges purchased off of the black market- not nicotine vapes. Yes, you read that correctly. Those fun little “dab carts” everyone has been loving, are not so fun anymore. So, why are we banning vape juices? 

Last year, I lived with four individuals who work in a vape company’s warehouse making the juice, bottling it, and distributing it. These individuals have literally been eating the juice to test the flavor/quality, spilling the stuff all over themselves, and, of course, vaping it day in and day out. Don’t you think that if anyone were to get sick from nicotine juices, it would be them?

Yet they are perfectly healthy and continue to vape because they know what is in their product, and they are actually taking the time to look into this “epidemic.” But because a couple news articles are deeming their product as “murderous,” they are at risk of losing their jobs. Weren’t people complaining just yesterday about losing jobs in this country? And now they want to get rid of hundreds to thousands more? Makes sense.

One side of the argument is that vape products shouldn’t be banned at all. There are plenty of things that we do, regardless of the risks, and many believe that vaping shouldn’t be treated any differently. If we know the risks and still want to participate, we should be able to do so.

On that note, if 18 mysterious deaths from non-nicotine vapes can spark a ban on all vape juice and vaping products as a whole, how many deaths will it take to ban cigarettes? It’s estimated that over 480,000 people die from cigarette smoking every year. Just because these people dying aren’t high-schoolers, they clearly aren’t as important from those government’s standpoint.

And where do these governments and parents think their children are going to turn to once vapes are gone? I mean, let’s face it, their kids are hooked on an addiction that is potentially stronger than that of cigarettes. Some may quit altogether, but I’m willing to bet most will find some way to keep the addiction alive, be it cigarettes or more sketchy vapes purchased illegally.

Going back to Massachusetts for a minute, the vape crisis has just claimed a new casualty- vape store owners, and they are not happy about it. Because of a four month ban prohibiting the sale of vape products to in-state purchasers, some store owners, like my friends’ bosses, are being left with over $80,000 in inventory that is now illegal to distribute. Store owners are turning to New Hampshire to see if they can sell their products across state lines to save not only their business, but their paychecks and the paychecks of their employees as well. 

The fact of the matter is that nobody knows all of the facts. If a nationwide ban occurs, some public health experts worry that it could potentially destroy one of the biggest public health opportunities in our time. I suppose that’s just a risk that some people are willing to take.

Check out the Other World section for more information on vaping and nicotine addictions and tips on how to quit.

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