Coming out of the 84th Texas Legislature is a bill that claims to be an age restriction bill that does a lot more than restrict age. Around the world, and all across Texas, former smokers are starting to breathe easier and are no longer addicted to cigarettes. Their sense of smell, taste, and joy for life is coming back as they get further from smoking. Their renewed health is a great relief to public health costs as well as relieving for families and friends.
Due to the myth nicotine is the bad player in burning tobacco, the majority of legislatures passed Senate Bill 97, ignoring the facts growing scientific studies provided to them when the bill was being debated. The bill they are sending to the Texas governor is about to treat all eLiquids, even those with zero nicotine, the same as tobacco.
Those using vaping to help quit smoking are about to get sent back to smoking areas, with all the harmful carcinogens and deadly tobacco smoke they are striving to escape from. A person using a slight nicotine level vaping oil to calm the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (yes, nicotine, freed from burning tobacco, is proving to be scientifically beneficial for them) will be treated like a smoker if Gov. Abbott signs this bill into law. Texas will over-regulate a product with great potential in helping drive toward a smoke free Texas. Anti-smokers should be cheering for vaping. Myths keep them in fear due to lack of knowledge about vaping’s benefits and concerns. Vapers become non-smokers and anti-smoking advocates want people to quit smoking so why have many anti-smoking groups supported over-regulation and misclassification?
Big tobacco, and their group of lobbyists, can celebrate the fact Texas legislators are supporting their push to classify vaping as if it were tobacco. Reeling from a loss of revenue, big tobacco is set to renegotiate the settlement money Texas receives and politicians do not want to lose this cash cow they’ve grown accustomed to spending. Big tobacco wants the type of vaping products available in small, mom and pop vape shops, banned but at least the current proposal does not go that far in Texas. Still the bill that could become law marks a solid victory for big tobacco while it is a loss for current and future vapers trying to get away from the tobacco that has caused them so much pain. E-cigarette products big tobacco sells in convenience stores are not as successful in helping reduce smoking as vaping products are becoming. Restricting mom and pop shop systems down to the same level as cigarettes creates barriers for small business big business has the money to overcome.
The last hope for the Texas vaping community rests with their governor. If Governor Abbott takes the time to learn the truth about vaping and the nicotine levels in eLiquids, he will not sign the bill into law. If he knows someone who was sick from tobacco that has started getting better through vaping perhaps he will not accept the myth. Thousands have already quit smoking and have escaped the cycle of tobacco addiction. Science is proving nicotine unchained from tobacco is not as addicting as when it is smoked with other chemicals in cigarettes. This new evidence can be one reason so many are finally able to stop smoking while reducing the nicotine level in eLiquid, many reducing it all the way to zero.
Nicotine can be dangerous and should be kept away from children. People younger than 18 should not be allowed to buy vaping products. Adult smokers should know the truth, however, and vapers should not be treated like smokers. The amount of nicotine in eLiquid is not the same lethal levels mixed into insecticides. Just like patches and gums, nicotine can be controlled and diluted to a safe level, a level many researchers equate to caffeine.
Myths should be broken and vaping should be seen as a true public health saving option. Senate Bill 97 should never have been sold by its authors or co-authors as an age restriction bill, it does so much more by placing vaping in the exact same category as tobacco. Politicians and big tobacco like the scary myths, however, and have used their influence to pass this draconian bill. Now it is up to Gov. Abbott and his team. Will he sign myth into law? Write or call him and ask.
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711-2428