Medieval Thinking In California

Posted 20th May 2019 by Dave Cross
The Californian city of San Rafael is debating a proposed ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco products. Vaping, as this is the United States of America, is ludicrously classified as a tobacco product, despite not containing any tobacco. Advocates have been fighting hard to obtain an exemption for “adult-only” vape stores.

San Rafael may call itself a city, but with a population of just 57,713 it’s around the same size as a Kettering, two Thetfords, four Berwick-upon-Tweeds, or a 12th century London wracked with leprosy. The reference to medieval times isn’t that out of place given the Doomsday looming for vaping in California.

Ethan Guy, an analyst with the city’s community development department, believes that banning flavoured products would end up costing the city around $100,000 in sales tax every year – and nothing focuses the minds of politicians more than money.

This is one of the reasons why city officials have surprisingly warmed to the proposition to allow flavoured eliquids to remain on sale to adults through adult-only vape stores. Guy believes that lost tax revenue could be limited to around $25,000 if vape stores continue to be allowed to trade.

Those demanding action is taken are relying on the usual lies about a teen epidemic. Those voices held sway during a previous council meeting, but officials asked for a report to be drawn up.

It looked at just two studies.

They highlighted a statement from one: “the potential for substantial reductions in the prevalence of young peoples’ e-cigarette and other tobacco use seems high if flavours were removed.”

The second study focussed on a 2009 flavoured-cigarette ban.

Whoever was in charge of the research pulled up some, erm, interesting facts:

  • Most youth (78.2%) owned a vaping device
  • The majority (72.8%) had used someone else's vaping device in the past 30 days
  • Youth who vaped more often did not own a vaping device
  • Kids whose first tobacco product (vape) was flavoured are more likely to become current tobacco users than those whose first product was tobacco flavoured
  • The increases in current use of any tobacco product and e-cigarettes have reversed a decline observed in recent years

Maybe someone on the council with intelligence will pull the above "facts" to pieces.

All this comes about because “tobacco product” is defined as:

  • Any product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or nicotine that is intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means, including but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and snuff and any Flavoured Tobacco Product.
  • Any electronic device that delivers nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic pipe, or electronic hookah.

The San Rafael Smoke Shop believes a ban on juice flavours would force it to close. VIP Vape owner Ted Turina said: “We are opposed to a ban. It’s unconstitutional, it’s anti-U.S. and it’s a Prohibition-era law that is not going to stop the problem they say they’re trying to solve.”

Meanwhile, the idiots campaigning for the ban talk about “kid-friendly flavoured nicotine vapes”. Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County Public Health Officer, goes one further and invents his own facts: “Up until age 25, the brain is not fully developed, and those between ages 21-25, a group heavily targeted by the vape industry, can go into the stores if they are exempted and deepen their addiction while arresting their brain’s development.”

Shortly after London was the size of San Rafael, the Renaissance of the 12th century brought transformations and the intellectual revitalisation of Western Europe where kings had been largely illiterate. Councillors in California could do with a bit of that now when it comes to tobacco harm reduction and vaping – and start by listening to courtiers other than the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition or the Marin County Public Health Officer.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker