Like most issues this country is facing, polarization between the two parties remains at an all-time high; access to vaping products to all adult smokers included. For the first time however, it looks like voter turnout specifically in our niche category seems to be at an all-time high. According to a HarrisX poll, nearly 29% of all registered voters have a history or are current users of e-cigarette products. And given the rather tumultuous trajectory the industry faces on a daily basis, it's safe to say that voting-age vapers are not happy with the way regulations are being handled.
Now, this is not an argument aimed at slamming a particular political party. Far from it. As one of the few brands that still remain in the U.S. vaping market, we also agree that the way in which e-cigarette regulations are being managed can use a drastic amount of improvement. This being said, we want to shed some light on the voters such as you and I that have the power to shape vaping policy moving forward.
With the midterm elections less than a month away and the balance of power in Congress teetering back towards the right, it is important to understand that it is YOUR VOTE that counts here. And whether you vote liberal or conservative, it's imperative that you understand each position and what that might entail about the future of vaping in your local community.
COLD HARD TRUTH: VAPING IS NOT A BI-PARTISAN ISSUE
For those that vape in Red States, you might still have to deal with flavor bans, increasingly high vaping taxes, and the all-around stigma as you would if you lived in a Blue State. That's because vaping in the United States has truly fallen off over the last few years. From JUUL actively marketing to children to being falsely accused of causing the vitamin E acetate bout of sickness and death off the counterfeit THC cartridges, the American vaping industry has consistently dealt with a wave of negative publicity. Compounded with those is the good ol' Anti-Vaping Movement, which leverages billions of dollars in special interest funding to effectively change the narrative against vaping, regardless of how effective it is in moving society away from cigarettes.
So what can be done about potentially balancing vaping back to acceptable levels? Well, it all starts with you, the adult smoker.
If you are of age to smoke, then you are also well-over the age to vote. And given that HarrisX poll, more of us are showing up in droves to make our voices heard.
Midterm elections come November 8th. And given the data in the HarrisX poll, 78 percent of polled vapers said that their decision to vote for one candidate over another needs to represent issues related to vaping. This is unheard of!
For a struggling industry that has to deal with wave after wave of negative publicity, what this really amounts to is this: the way in which e-cigarettes are both regulated and enforced isn't sustainable. And at the end of the day, all it's really doing is hurting the American taxpayer.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Between the FDA, individual state and local governments, and the several anti-vaping interest groups whose sole existence to wipe out vaping, their fear-mongering tactics, sensationalist media coverage, and obviously-biased scientific studies aren't flying with current adult smokers. Year over year, vaping has become more expensive, less diverse, and less accepted for an otherwise fully legal product to purchase and consume. Remind us again how the existing regulations are a benefit to us all again?
BEFORE YOU VOTE, UNDERSTAND THIS
Now before you send out your mail-in ballot or head to the polling station, understand where things stand. While it's easy to look at the current situation and the existing power structure and state that whatever is happening now isn't working so let's vote the other guy in, hold your horses. Both sides of the political spectrum simultaneously support and are against e-cigarette's existence. What it really comes down to is which side of the aisle will present the most reasonable regulations for us Americans to get behind. As a general rule of thumb, here's how American politics plays out:
DEMOCRATS FAVOR TAXES & REGULATIONS, REPUBLICANS ALSO FAVOR THEM, BUT NOT AS MUCH
Historically, Democrat-leaning representatives are more likely than Republicans to favor taxes and regulation. This goes to show that either the Democrats are very good at hiding the true extent of the bills they propose or vapers living in blue states are poorly informed on the issues. Whatever the case may be, this is a very telling sign to why things are as bad as they are.
Another important concept to grasp is that historically speaking, Republicans are generally distrustful of the "whole-of-government" approach to governance. The typical conservative way of thinking leans more libertarian than anything, keeping the overall government apparatus out of people's private lives as much as possible. While this typically spells disaster for a state's ability to enforce public assistance programs, this can potentially be a godsend for limiting the FDA's almost-universal jurisdiction on vaping products.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN FOR VAPING POLICIES COME MIDTERM ELECTIONS?
Whether you live in a red state or a blue state, regardless of whether your representative you plan on voting for takes a restrictive or less-restrictive stance on vaping, the fact of the matter is this: if the American populace is sitting here and voting in the ones in power, it is really your responsibility to understand how this would affect your access to these products.
According to the HarrisX poll, approximately 62 percent of voters with a history of vaping support the requirement that all vapor products should comply with the rules imposed by the FDA. Imagine how that would play out. Those same 62% of vapers would suddenly find all their vape shops closed and about 95% of the products they use would vanish overnight. That's simply ignorance to truly understand the ramifications of the policies their representatives chose to push.
This all being said, EVEN IF Congress were to outright ban flavored vapor products, it's not like vaping would cease to exist altogether. That same poll indicated that should such a thing happen, the further proliferation of the black market would continue to take shape. Read: people would go out of their way to buy illegal product.
Going into next month's elections, we hope the candidates vying for power represent your interests as it pertains to vaping. Whichever side of the aisle you support, they should be supporting YOUR ACCESS to these products. Happy vaping and may the best candidate win!