This election year is set to be a busy one, with 36 states and 3 territories hosting elections for State Governors. Just because there are elections, don’t assume there will be a change in command. Of the 39 vacancies for the position of State Governor, only 8 are term limited or don’t have officials seeking re-election. What this means is that there is a potential for more of the same as 31 incumbent governors are up for re-election out of the 39 vacancies. It’s time for voters to step up to the plate and decide if they want to see some change or if they are satisfied with the way things are. While we all should be watching the FDA’s ruling and following CASAA’s suggestions at the Federal level, state lawmakers play a huge role in vapor rights as well.
Where to Vape
Currently, only 3 states have banned vaping in areas that are 100% smoke free, no questions asked. 10 states have laws that restrict vaping in specific areas, mostly school zones and areas where children might be. However, 172 restrictions exist at the local level, like cities, towns, and counties. If federal proposals go through, more states may be forced to restrict vaping from areas that are smoke free. If more anti-vapor Governors return to office the number of limitiations will climb as they join politicians at the Federal level in creating more vaping bans and more taxes for electronic cigarettes.
Who Can Vape
Just about everyone agrees that electronic cigarettes and vaping products shouldn’t be sold to minors. In fact, the only people who don’t agree are probably minors themselves. While we, along with most vapers take no issue with age restrictions that have been set, we do not want to see more Governors limiting where adults can vape or purchase their vapor products. We also don’t want to see gubernatorial candidates using children and an anti-vapor agenda to help them get elected. No one will be surprised to learn that 23 states have already passed age restrictions stating that vapor products can’t be sold to minors. So, it isn’t that shocking that 13 more states have an age limit on their upcoming ballots. Again, these are good measures, as long as they aren’t bundled with other anti-vapor policies or used as ammunition for anti-vapor candidates to make their way into office.
One big shock comes from Vermont. House Bill 632 in Vermont would make it illegal for anyone not just to buy vapor products, but to possess them at all, regardless of age. There is also another proposal before Vermont’s State Senate to add a 92% tax to electronic cigarettes. On the up and up Vermont’s Governor, Pete Shumlin, is up for re-election and has consistently presented his view of e-cigs as an effective method to quit smoking. He also opposes outrageous taxation, especially considering that the jury is still out on electronic cigarettes. He might be a good guy to keep in the office, if you are registered to vote in Vermont we would highly suggest following Mr. Shumin’s campaign and paying extra attention when vapor is brought up.
Another issue on the ballot is new taxes for vapor products. 9 states propose a new or increased tax on e cigarettes. Some states want them to be taxed exactly like tobacco products. While other states want to charge a percentage or are proposing the addition of a flat rate. Consider Washington, the state that wants to charge a 95% OTP (Other Tobacco Products) rate. The next Governor of the State of Washington will have a huge amount of influence over laws like this. Paying attention to local elections and making the right choice will be key to the vapor community.
Make a Difference
You can make a difference by taking action at the polls. To do that, you need to stay informed. There are several ways to stay informed about what’s going on not just in your state, but at the federal level.
*Visit us frequently to get up to date information about the vaping community.
*Set up Google Alerts for terms like “Your State vaping regulations” or “Your State e cigarette laws”
*Visit your governor’s web page and that of their opponents frequently to learn about any new interviews or changes in position.
Don’t forget to let your voice be heard at the polls. This is where the numbers count. You might even organize the vaping community in your area so that you can ensure that your voices heard on a whole new level!