One way or another: One question, two opposing viewpoints

California should not ban flavored tobacco products

Adults need to be free to make their own decisions regarding electronic nicotine products.


Opinion by Ava Rosate, Staff Writer


Banning flavored e-cigarettes means stripping away an adult’s rights to bodily autonomy and consumer freedom. Proposition 31 would prohibit tobacco retailers from selling flavored tobacco products including flavored vapes.


California voters are set to weigh in on Proposition 31 in November, a bill set to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products including flavored vaporizers, flavored vaporizer oils, flavored cigars and flavored cigar wraps.


The proposition is not to ban children from using flavored vapes — which is already illegal. It is putting a ban on regulated and legal sales to adults who already understand the risks associated with smoking.


Smoking in California is hardly an issue - the state comes in second in the country with the lowest rates. Less than 11 percent of adults consume nicotine of any kind statewide, according to a study done by the California Department of Public Health. Those who use nicotine understand the dangers that come with it, but choose to do so because they enjoy it.


Cigarettes, like alcohol, are an affordable form of stress relief. There is no reason to deprive people of their preferred form of relaxation.


California is attempting to obfuscate the reason for the ban, stating they are trying to curb nicotine usage in children, but a financial incentive is being overlooked: California is not making enough money off of the products as they do with traditional cigarettes.


The current tax for cigarettes is 61 percent. The vape tax is 12.5 percent. Instead of outlawing the vape products, California should raise the tax percentage for vape products. Thus increasing revenue and curbing usage in those who can’t afford the price hike.


Electronic cigarettes have a great importance to adults who are trying to reduce or stop their smoking habit. Smoking is still responsible for the deaths of almost half a million Americans each year. Traditional cigarettes contain more than 7,000 chemicals, most of which are toxic. Two of the most damaging elements in cigarettes, tar and carbon monoxide, are completely eliminated with the use of a vaporizer.


Flavored vaporizers have been shown to help adults kick their smoking addiction. According to a study done by the National Library of Medicine, those who used flavored e-cigarettes were more likely to quit smoking than those who used unflavored vapes.


California is placing the blame of underage tobacco use on the wrong party. It is illegal to buy e-cigarettes under the age of 21. If the state actually cared and wanted to put an end to youth smoking, they would shift their focus from the ban of a disposable smoke pen to the prosecution of the adults who are selling to minors.


Outlawing flavored tobacco products will put those who use them in a dangerous position of forcing them to pick up the habit of smoking traditional cigarettes or look to unregulated aftermarkets for their fix.


The FDA knows people who use vapes are extremely unlikely to quit cold turkey if they are banned. California’s plan is simple — get rid of low revenue flavored vapes and replace them with high revenue cigarettes


 

Electronic cigarettes pumped with artificial flavors should be banned

Flavored electronic cigarettes are dangerous and should be treated as such.


Opinion by Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor


Due to the rise in electronic cigarette usage amongst young adults, the state government should do everything in its power to ban flavored tobacco products.


The appeal of vapes started off rather innocent — a way for cigarette smokers to kick their stinky habit and switch to the sleek, electronic version of the addictive substance. Hon Lik, the creator of the e-cigarette, invented the alternative to wean himself off of smoking two packs a day. However, the wrong demographic started inhaling. Young adults use electronic cigarettes far more than adults 25 and older, and are generally enticed by the flavors offered.


Common flavors for vapes are fruit, dessert and beverage inspired, according to Breazy, an online e-cigarette retailer. The childlike array of flavors are begging for youth interaction, with names reminiscent of treats that kids just finished spending their allowance money on.


According to the CDC, last year roughly 80 percent of high school and junior high students that vape reported a preference for flavored e-cigarettes.


Juuls, the most popular type of e-cigarette, have long targeted their vapes to young adults. In 2020, the company was hit with a lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general for featuring advertisements in websites such as the Cartoon Network and Teen Vogue from 2015 to 2016.


Earlier this month, Juul Labs was once again in the news for its unethical marketing tactics. The company settled a two year old lawsuit between 33 states who have been investigating Juul. According to the states’ findings, the company marketed its products to underage teens through “launch parties, product giveaways and ads and social media posts using youthful models.” The e-cigarette company will have to shell out $438.5 million — which is only about 25 percent of Juul’s nationwide sales in 2021.


While the settlement may fool some into thinking that Juul sees the harm in their actions, Juul established itself in the market by preying on teenagers and, as a result, is still benefiting from that immoral strategy. If the trends continue, the overall loss of revenue will be made up in no time, and Juul will emerge unscathed. But for those who picked up the habit, no amount of money can reverse permanent lung damage.


On Nov. 8, Californians will be given the choice to ban flavored tobacco products. Every state resident should vote “Yes” on Proposition 31, as it will ban the sale of these flavored products.


Companies should be held accountable for their actions, as they are single handedly changing the lives of countless individuals. The addictive technology hooked a whole new generation on nicotine, with many victims not even aware of the consequences.