Following a rash of unexplained acute lung illnesses supposedly linked to vaping, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reacted fiercely. On Sunday, he made the announcement that he will pursue “emergency regulations” to effectively produce a statewide vaping ban. The proposal would stop the sale of flavored e-liquids, the platform health experts believe is responsible for the lung illnesses.
Although it’s an unfortunate move, it’s perhaps not a surprising one. First, it would follow Michigan’s example of banning flavored e-cigarette products. Second, President Trump made a similar announcement at the White House, noting that vaping is hurting kids. As a result, he wants to impose a federal ban on flavored e-liquids.
If you think businesses potentially affected by the vaping ban are panicking, you’re not off the mark. According to a recent report in the Chicago Tribune, many vape shop owners said that they’d have to close down. In turn, that would force many vape users to return to smoking combustible cigarettes.
Moreover, a federal vaping ban may create a black market for such products. During the Prohibition era, drinking didn’t stop: it simply went underground. And not only that, the draconian law facilitated the rise of criminal entities.
Therefore, in trying to stop one problem, the government created several. But with a proposed vaping ban, I think it gives ammunition to another rising development: gun confiscation.
A Successful Vaping Ban Won’t Stop at Vaping
Interestingly, President Trump cited safety to children as a prime reason to propose a vaping ban. In one of the rare showings of political consensus, Trump met approval with opposing Democrats. However, they did bring up a point about hypocrisy: why won’t Trump and the Republicans ban so-called “assault rifles?”
Before you send me angry comments about the two issues not being the same, I agree with you. But in many ways, they are. The vaping ban violates a legal adult user’s constitutional rights to do what they please with their body. Similarly, gun control impinges on the rights for law-abiding citizens to access firearms.
Thus, I find it extremely problematic that Trump is recommending a vaping ban, let alone even entertaining one. All the available evidence suggests that we’re not dealing with a vaping issue; rather, risky behavior among youth is probably the catalyst.
But if a vaping ban goes through, a precedent will be set. And that means any administration can impose gun confiscation to “protect the kids.” To be sure, it would represent a grievous violation. But a ban on one product could easily lead to a ban on many others.