Welcome to another e-cigarette news roundup. It's Friday, and here's what's going on in the e-cigarette world: Hawaii's state lawmakers are close to deciding whether to go forward with a controversial tax hike. Utah is still mulling over their inclusion of ecigs in the state smoking laws. A couple of stand-up vendors represent. And finally, e-cigarettes on local news TV, it's not what you might think! Come on down and plow through the end of week e-cigarette news!
Hawaii Tax Hike Update
I've been following the Hawaii e-cig tax hike saga, you know that later today the committees responsible will be making a decision on the future of the bill. Everyone agrees that the underage sales ban is a good idea. However, a massive number of people other than the health department seem to be against the tax. The tax is unpopular because it could limit access to safer smoking alternatives and potentially threaten local business like Volcano Ecigs.
Here's a roundup of the stories that came out surrounding the bill. A roundup within a roundup, how meta!
KITV ran a fairly typical TV news segment on the pressure against the bill. Think lots of quotes about unknown safety and the dreaded FDA fear mongering masterpiece being paraded about.
- Far from Hawaii, a UK e-cigarette company, Nicolites, put out a press release to come out against the tax hike.
- An opinion piece ran in Honolulu Magazine a couple days ago likening the notion of a tax increase to encouraging smokers to keep going so tax revenue doesn't dip.
- The Hawaii Reporter published a fairly neutral story on the debate.
- And perhaps most encouraging of all, chairman of the Hawaii Senate Weights and Means Commission pretty much said the bill isn't going to fly with all the opposition to the tax.
I don't want to do a victory dance prematurely. I publish these news roundups long before the committees will meet on Friday morning local time. As of this writing nothing is a done deal, so who knows what will become of this thing. Still, signs look good. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed since I'm sure I'll be tweeting plenty of links about this one on Friday.
Utah Moves Forward with Ban, Assumes Business Owners are Stupid
This just in… I always wanted to say that, but I just got this alert as I was finalizing this update for submission. Despite valiant efforts from a number of people in a committee hearing, the inclusion of e-cigarettes and hookahs into the state's clean air act will be moving forward according to this news article. Also, the move's supporters seem to think pretty ill of local business owners.
“Businesses don't know if they can exclude them or not,” she said. “This bill helps clarify that.”
Look, I know the people who testified are passionate and all, but this is about using a device, not civil rights. Of course businesses can exclude them without e-cigarettes being explicitly mentioned in the clear air act. Are mortuaries able to keep marauding polka bands out of their establishments? Is there a law about that? That's what I thought.
Utah Official Wants us to Think About the Kids
Back to Utah, where there's also a protracted battle over the fate of e-cigarettes. The Daily Herald published an editorial by the Utah County Health Commissioner. As you might have guessed, this one is pro ban. The piece is pretty lengthy with a lot of paraphrasing the previous news article and mention of the poor, poor children. However, this part sort of jumped out at me.
E-cigarettes are being banned across the world in countries such as Australia, Canada, Singapore and Brazil not because they look like cigarettes or because people using them look like they're smoking. The ban in these countries is due to the lack of safety and efficacy data.
First of all, that is a logical fallacy. I should know, I commit them all the time. Just because someone takes an action does not guarantee that decision was sound. Second, in many of those countries, e-cigarettes are not banned. Rather, the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine is. The prohibition is based on each countries own standards, but generally surround the fact that nicotine is included, not necessarily because of no safety data.
Responsible Vendor Actions
blu Cigs is perhaps one of the masters of e-cigarette marketing. The company's CEO posted an article on blu's blog about the insanity that is this crusade against flavors. Perhaps this is a shot back at Green Nicotines outlandish claims inferring e-cigarettes that don't taste like crap are targeted at kids.
At the end of the day the ‘anti’ side of any argument will always gravitate to the easiest and simplest way to attack their adversary while maximizing their ability to get others on their side. Think about it, put yourself in the shoes of the anti groups and think about the huge undertaking of combating and going into war against alcohol and cigarette companies for example. How do you get anyone to see your side of an argument or more importantly to agree with your view point…… say the opposite side is hurting children! Gold! you win!
Think about how many times “for the kids” was slapped on a bad idea and pushed out the door. Who'd argue against it? It truly is lazy. On a side note, many of the other big companies who are clearly getting ready to roll over and play nice with whatever regulations are happening. blu Cigs is one of the few major players who are still trying to make a stand despite the fact that they have the pieces in place to survive FDA regulations. I have to give some respect points for that.
Speaking of Stand-up Vendors
Another big proponent of the concept of harm reduction is UK vendor E Cigarette Direct, mostly via its Ashtray Blog. There were a couple of blog posts this week in support of e-cigarettes in general. The first post is a contest they are promoting to get people to send pictures of vaping by no smoking signs. Nothing really newsworthy there, except for each entry, the company will donate to the campaign for vaping in pubs.
Not just on warm balmy nights (hey – you can still do that) but on days when the wind was howling, the sky was drizzling or, like last weekend, the snow was whipping around your frozen fingers?
CAMVIP is a UK organization dedicated to encouraging e-cigarette use in pubs to keep them in business. Thousands of UK pubs have shut down in the wake of that nation's smoking bans. Apparently having a pint without a cigarette is a waste of time.
While we're on the subject, the Ashtray blog also ran a post reminding us that World Vaping Day is coming up soon. I too am guilty of not promoting this enough. Expect that to change.
Disclosure: E Cigarette Direct is an advertiser on this site
Local TV News Advocacy Segment on e-Cigarettes
Eyewitness News 9 out of North Carolina has a consumer protection segment like many local news stations. The segments often feature things like people being overcharged for car repairs and the like. The segment this week focused on e-cigarettes. You may think you know where this is going, but you might be wrong. The piece was mostly positive on e-cigarettes with plenty of soundbites from pro-electronic cigarette forces. The oddest part was how the piece concluded.
“Electronic cigarettes under the law that we helped pass two years ago are allowed,” said Stone, but there’s a catch, “The restaurant owners is allowed, if they want, to have a policy on their own that says we don't allow e-cigs. ”
Meaning, even though North Carolina law allows people to use the E-Cig in public places where cigarettes are not allowed, Stone says individual owners can chose to not allow it in their businesses, which could have been the case with Mendenhall and his trip to Olive Garden.
Nine on Your Side contacted Olive garden to find out why Mendenhall was asked the leave the restaurant.
Yes, that's right, they were investigating why someone was tossed out of an Olive Garden for Vaping. I would point out that the restaurant is perfectly in its rights to do so as a private business. So as weird as this seems, it still is pretty much a local TV station making a mountain out of a mole hill. It just happens to be a pro-vaping mountain.
Deal of the Moment
Looks like My Freedom Smokes is running another sale on their unflavored nicotine liquid. I got this in my e-mail box today:
It's that time again. Time for a sale on our famous Unflavored Nicotine Smoke Juice E-Liquid. By using the coupon code “30Nic” you will receive an incredible 30% OFF of our already low prices for any size and any strength of Unflavored Nicotine (discount cannot be applied to wholesale quantities).
Be a news spotter! Run across an article you think I should be mentioning here? Let me know! Just Tweet @SteveVape with the hashtag #ecignews or post it up on my Facebook page. I’ll be sure to give you a shout out in the news update if you’re the first one to spot it
Stock photos via MorgueFile