HR 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019, introduced by Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) and Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) is the kind of legislation that is structured in a capacity that could bring on the beginnings of a thriving vape black market in the United States.
The gist of the bill is that the act is modeled after specific tobacco control measures already passed in Australia, could be more harmful and is a hysterical response to the moral panic of the faux youth vaping epidemic. The Pallone-Shalala proposal features three main components:
First, HR 2339 would increase the nationwide legal sales age for all tobacco and nicotine products. Second, the bill bans flavors, including menthol, and additionally prohibits all e-commerce sales of electronic nicotine delivery systems and other deemed tobacco products. Third, the FDA will be given more regulatory power which includes more marketing and advertising controls shared with the Federal Trade Commission.
This bill is also the only anti-vaping proposal currently before Congress that has the support of the large public health advocacy groups like the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. Apparently they don't either read the science, or they outright do not care about it and have fallen hook line and sinker for the hyperbole and hysteria.
The primary concerns for this should be the whole thing, but if you focus on the ban of all flavors and e-commerce sales, you can do some simple math and logic in your head to realize this spells doom for the DIY vapers out there. For starters, the Pallone-Shalala bill will be the end of the e-commerce trade of vaporizer devices, full stop. Small manufacturers and shops that rely heavily on online sales will straight up stop existing harder than the super heroes turned to dust by the Thanos snap.
At the time of this writing, a conservative estimate based on Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association places around 10 percent of open system vapers as DIY mixers and component producers. This is from a sample of 5000 self reporting hobbyist vapers and creators of eLiquids. Imagining this to be a low number of people sampled across the globe as it is self reporting, the estimate remains the same across the population, but the amount of people is increased dramatically.
Under the non-face-to-face sales prohibition and flavor ban proposed in the Pallone-Shalala bill, the legal status of these product subcategories would be transferred to an illicit state instantly. As we have seen with a prohibition on any substance, product, or service, in the history of this country, we obviously can conclude this is dumb legislation.
The bill additionally offers no recourse for small businesses born in similar ways to cultivate industry self-regulation or manufacturing accountability standards, as Mark Anton, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association states; “The Pallone-Shalala bill does not afford any self-regulations, when you are putting in a flavor ban and leave only tobacco there is no vapor industry to speak of,” He continued; “The Pallone-Shalala Bill would perpetuate the false narrative that eliminating flavors would save lives, in fact, it is just the opposite,” he added.
What do you think about this kooky legislation? Will the government ever come to it's senses or will there be massive body of illegal DIY vapers out there?