Earlier this week, California Governor Gavin Newsom followed in the footsteps of Michigan and New York regarding the vaping crisis. In a perhaps not-so-surprising move, Newsom issued an executive order design to stem the tide of underage vaping. While an outright ban on the practice hasn’t been issued, it may not be out of the question.
On Monday, health officials declared that the vaping crisis allegedly took the life of a seventh person. Over the weekend, a California man died apparently due to complications associated with vaping. What makes this case special, though, is the victim’s age. At 40 years old, he does not fit the profile of a young male – median age of approximately 19 years.
That news may take the vaping crisis to another level. Previously, the lion’s share of the affected involved either underage or young college-age victims. With this critical context, vaping advocates have argued that it’s not the platform that’s the issue, but rather, the behavior. Notably, illegally sourced THC-based marijuana compounds have been associated with most of these cases.
It’s important to note that one incident does not represent a pattern.
However, the mainstream media will have a field day with this development. Sensationalism sells these days; I might argue that it’s the only thing that sells. Therefore, the vaping crisis just took on another ugly turn.
But what’s really driving the narrative here?
Vaping Crisis and the Financial System
As with any movement, money is a critical factor. While the vaporizer industry and traditional tobacco businesses appear similar in concept, they’re very much apart when it comes to their fiscal footprint.
Big tobacco, like big oil or big banks, represent massive contributions to the financial system. For instance, during peak pain at the pump, many drivers decry oil companies for their avarice. But as is true about many elements in America, it’s a contradictory complaint: several American investors, including those with 401K plans, benefit tremendously from greedy oil hucksters.
And the same thing is true with the broader smoking and tobacco industry. Yes, in most ways, they are a social ill. But they’re very much plugged into the financial system. Like big oil, they play a critical role in our investment portfolios. Not only that, tobacco directly and indirectly provide revenue streams for municipal and statewide projects.
On the other hand, the vaporizer industry is relatively a mom-and-pop operation. They’re hardly big enough to truly register in our collective fiscal bucket. Because of that, the vaping industry is practically off-grid. And that does not sit well, especially when vaping takes away revenue sources from tobacco-related entities or projects.
Realistically, then, we may see continued outrage over the vaping crisis, at least up to the 2020 election’s conclusion.