both houses of the legislature in Vermont. If you look all the way back to last March, a number of Representatives for the state of Vermont proposed HB 26, a bill which bans direct-to-consumer online sales of vapor products. Kind of reminds me how giant retailers got together to ban online sales to keep their brick and mortar business running, oh wait, that never happened.
At the time the bill was drafted the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), had pointed out that since Vermont is a small rural state with very few vape shops, locals who consume eLiquids do not have access to specialty vapor retailers. This means that by banning online sales, this bill deflects those consumers back to the sales of combustible cigarettes, as they are more easily available than their safer alternatives.
“This bill proposes to prohibit anyone from selling electronic cigarettes, liquids containing nicotine or otherwise intended for use with an electronic cigarette, or tobacco paraphernalia in Vermont unless that person is a licensed wholesale dealer or purchased the items from a licensed wholesale dealer. It would also prohibit shipping these items to anyone in Vermont other than a licensed wholesale dealer or retailer,” read the proposal.
Sadly, HB 26 passed both the house and senate with veto-proof majorities, as of this writing come the start of the legislative session, Governor Scott has pledged to sign the bill if it came before him. CASAA is once again urging vapers to make contact with Governor Scott’s office and urge him to veto the online sales ban.
While the bill is a well intended, poor in execution response to panic about youth access to nicotine and tobacco products, lawmakers are failing to consider two very obvious things. First, online access is not driving the reported spike in youth use of vapor products. Websites do not sell to minors.
Second, banning online sales will deny access to many people who smoke and those who quit by switching to vaping. While some people might believe that banning online sales will bolster their business or achieve the goal of preventing youth access, in all likelihood instead it will protect sales of the most visible tobacco product on the market, cigarettes, as well as denying access to law abiding adults.
Why do governments seem to always want to do the best for the children but end up doing the worst for the consumer? How much further can this anti-vape hysteria keep pushing things? What do you think about all this?