Hardly a day goes by without news of another attempted vaping ban taking place either at the federal, state, or local level. But when reports of state lawmakers’ attempts to ban the sales of all online vaping products– not just flavored e-liquids, but mods, wicks, and everything else - Connecticut vapers refused to take the news lying down. They fought back and won.
Apparently, the proposed legislation was designed under the guise of protecting teens from becoming addicted to vaping and eventually smoking. In a strange twist on this vaping-as-a-gateway theory, the controversial rule known as HB 5293 would allow vaping sales via traditional brick and mortar vape shops and convenience stores, but all online sales in Connecticut would immediately become illegal regardless of the vaper’s age.
Vaping bans: Reading the fine print
Of course, the new “rule” did not really say that, not in those exact words. The lawmakers were much more creative than that. Instead of banning all online vaping sales outright, they composed the new regulations to only require a face-to-face confirmation of proper Identification to verify the purchaser’s age. Since there is no way that online retailers can conduct a “face-to-face” ID verification, all online vaping sales essentially become illegal.
According to lawmakers, the only ideology behind this legislation was that teenage vapers would theoretically find it much more difficult to buy vaping products when proper identification is required via human interaction with an adult. Of course, this rule is already in place at the federal level for vendors of beer, wine, liquor, combustible tobacco products, and even vaping products. So, why would Connecticut attempt to pass an identical rule if not to intentionally ban online vaping sales?
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Unfortunately, ID requirements regardless of the product have proven only minimally successful as a preventive measure for underage purchase over the past 100 years or so. Still, the American vaping industry is on-board with a federal requirement to sell to only those over eighteen, or in some cases 21 depending on the state. Most vapers and vape shop owners firmly believe that neither vaping nor smoking is an activity that any child should undertake.
Thanks to the aggressive response by Connecticut vaping community to the oddly-worded, anti-vaping bill banning online sales, legislators just last week approved an amendment by a margin of 145-3 which remove the ID confirmation requirement for online purchases.
Intentional online vaping ban or simply a misunderstanding?
Meanwhile, some politicians like Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield) tried to pass off the whole debacle as a simple misunderstanding. According to Vahey, “the requirement of face-to-face purchases in retail establishments” was the primary goal. The implication is that lawmakers simply failed to think things through as to how the new rule would negatively affect web-based businesses.
The American vaping community is under attack from multiple fronts. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is actively pursuing a nationwide war on flavored e-liquids while several state governments are increasing age limits and enacting other obstructive legislation that limits how, where, and when people can vape. Even individual cities like Berkeley, California, San Francisco, and Manhattan are trying to pass local ordinances making the sales of flavored e-liquids in their respective cities illegal. What happened in Connecticut is a great lesson for all vapers in how speaking up and getting involved can truly affect positive change. Fight for your right to vape!
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