AUGUSTA – Rep. Janice Cooper, a Democrat from Yarmouth, is proposing a ban on the sale of all vaping devices and other similar electronic devices. Rep. Cooper’s request is listed as L.R. 2763 “An Act To Prohibit the Sale of Vaping Devices and Similar Electronic Smoking Devices” in a list of requested bills on the website of the Maine Revisor of Statutes.
If approved as an “emergency measure” by the Maine Legislature’s Executive Council, the bill would be considered during the 2020 Legislative Session.
The issue is
certain to spark controversy and strong emotions on both sides.
Many people who vape say that they could not have quit smoking cigarettes without the alternative, which simulates smoking using an aerosol vapor and a battery powered electronic device, but without the carcinogens and contaminants of cigarettes.
The United States CDC says the smoking alternative has “the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.”
one published by Cochrane, a group that promotes high quality health
studies and reviews and serves as a benchmark for global evidence-informed
decision making, appear to confirm that vaping is a method some smokers could
successfully use to quit smoking.
Dr. Robert H.
Shmerling, the Faculty Editor of Harvard Health Publishing says vaping should
be considered the “lesser of two evils” for current smokers, but warns, “If you
do decide to vape, avoid e-cigarettes bought “off the street” and stick with
brand name e-cigarette products without modification (such as adding marijuana
or other drugs).”
At the same time, numerous authorities warn that young people should not take up vaping as an alternative to smoking and instead, they should simply say no to either of the options.
months, a just over 1,000 cases of a mysterious illness related to vaping have cropped
up around the nation, including a handful in Maine. Among those cases there
have been eighteen deaths. The cases have been spread across 48 states.
signs seem to point to the cause of the vaping illness that has captivated the
nation being caused by modified cartridges, bootlegged vaping liquid and
generally dangerous “off the street” vaping materials.
For what is likely tens of thousands of Mainers who have quit smoking by switching to vaping, that means they face the prospect of their “lesser of two evils” being completely banned, while their greater of two evils continues to be sold in Maine, with the state government collecting a heavy profit via taxes.
For Rep. Cooper, it is unclear what evidence, if anything would move her to a neutral corner on the issue. She has also proposed a bill to fund a study of the use of marijuana in vaping devices along with studying adverse impacts of other types of marijuana. The title of that proposed bill makes no mention of studying the health impact of traditional vaping.
thousands of Mainers, and dozens of vape shop owners with hundreds of employees
will be watching and waiting for the Legislature’s Executive Council to decide
if the bill will be considered next year. That vote could come as soon as
October 23rd. Six of the ten members of the Executive Council, which
is made up of the ten members of legislative leadership, would have to approve
the bill to move it forward.
With the current composition of the Maine Legislature showing a clear willingness to take steps to ban products of which they don’t approve, nobody can predict where Cooper’s bill will end up.