Berkeley joins Puritanical fray as vaping flavor bans spread like wildfire
According to recent reports, the city of Berkeley, California, is introducing new legislation that will ban the sales of menthol cigarettes and flavored e-liquids used in vaping devices. The first hearing is set to take place in less than two weeks on October 3. Meanwhile, at the time of this posting, news of the proposed flavor ban has not even reached the mainstream media.
Vapes.com only discovered the news after a conversation with Stefan Didak, Founder & President at NotBlowingSmoke.org.
"Another city, another flavor ban introduced, and another attack on access and availability of vapor products for those who need them the most. I'm sure we will see the same strategic approach by the various tobacco control organizations by engaging in identity politics and throwing vapor in as a casualty of their war on menthol cigarettes".
How can Berkeley vapers and vape shop owners fight a proposed flavor ban if they don’t even know about it? Well, unfortunately, this might be just what the state legislators intended. By rushing into a formal hearing without any advanced warning, the bill is far more likely to pass. Just ask vapers in San Francisco - the first California town to implement its own local ban.
Berkeley is famously (or notoriously, depending on one’s personal political proclivities) an ultra-liberal city since well before the 1960s when a young Timothy Leary would regularly pontificate about the mind-altering expansiveness of dropping acid, LSD, and other psychotropic drugs. Berkeley and the state of California have also recently legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.
But vaping e-liquids that taste like bubble gum? Now, that’s a product that Berkeleyites apparently cannot and will not tolerate.
Berkeley is only the latest to fall victim to this Puritanical mindset.
There will surely be more cities to follow, and yours could be next! Earlier this summer, San Francisco became the first metropolitan area to essentially ignore state law and introduce its own version of local legislation for a citywide flavor ban.
Soon afterwards, new bills for local flavor bans began sprouting up all over the place in California. Today, San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Contra Costa County, and now Berkeley each have some sort of anti-flavor legislation in the works. And according to the rumor mill, San Jose, California, may be next.
Related Article: WHAT IS ‘LET'S BE REAL, SAN FRANCISCO,’ AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Upon hearing the news of the San Francisco flavor ban, Bay Area vapers were instantly outraged, and almost immediately, the Let’s Be Real, San Francisco (LBRSF) organization was formed with the primary objective of overturning the controversial ordinance. However, this would prove far more difficult than most vapers might imagine.
The bill can only be overturned by a ballot initiative, but first, organizers would need to solicit 19,040 signatures on a special referendum petition. Through sheer willpower and lots of door-to-door advocating, LBRSF officials somehow managed to receive 34,000 signatures, well above the required number.
A vote on the San Francisco flavor ban is set to occur in June 2018, but the outcome is still very uncertain. All of this hard work may never pay off in the end if the bill goes to a vote and Californians vote to keep it. Until then, Bay Area vapers and vape shops owners are essentially in legal limbo.
Related Article: SAN FRANCISCO REFUSES TO REPEAL FLAVOR BAN; REFERENDUM VOTE IMMINENT