Overturned vape ban is still hurting citizens

Illustration by Sydney Hanish

On Oct. 4, Oregon Governor Kate Brown instituted a temporary ban on nicotine-based and marijuana-based vape products as a response to lung diseases linked to the death of two Oregonians, adding to the 34 cases seen nationwide. She stated that her intentions for passing the ban were to safeguard the health of Oregon citizens, to protect the youth and to persuade the federal government to take notice to create legislation of its own. Shortly afterwards, the vape ban was overturned by the Oregon Court of Appeals, but the portions related to marijuana are still in effect. 

Although the ban was overturned, I still say shame on you, Kate Brown. Gun violence kills 40,000 people a year in our country, but do you ban assault rifles or bump stocks? No. In the state of Oregon, alcohol-related automobile accidents kill over 1,000 people a year, according to Johnston Law Firm. Do you ban chardonnays, lagers or cosmopolitans? Cars? No. According to you, two people in Oregon dying from an illness caused by vape products warrants prohibition. This ban is not simply to “safeguard the health of all Oregonians” in order for the federal government to take action, but yet another example of bureaucracy punishing those who are legally working within regulations while empowered black marketers continue their wrongdoing without repercussions. 

In Oregon, the legal age to smoke is 21, however 23% of high school juniors claim to use e-cigarettes, according to the Oregon Governor’s Office. This usage would only increase if the ban was still in effect, and the age of consumers would continue to go down. It is even more dangerous to buy from a dealer than a vape shop because there can be additional additives that are toxic or even deadly. Therefore, Brown’s claim that she was protecting the youth is false, as they will find ways to get access to substances, and when they do, it will come from a source that cares more about profits than their health or wellbeing.

The impact on marijuana manufacturers and dispensaries is still ongoing as the ban still remains upon marijuana-based vapor pens. This is due to the fact that the two registered deaths in Oregon have been attributed to cannabis. My father, owner and founder of a marijuana manufacturing company, has already seen the ramifications of this ban on his business When the ban was instituted, he had to throw away at least $500,000 dollars worth of product and cartridges. He has had to salvage what he can, and  completely shift his focus to cannabis-derived terpenes. It is already a tough business to run with constant regulation that inhibits the ability to profit, so the future is unclear. One day he could be thriving and the next he may be closing the doors of his processing facilities. A man trying his hardest to run a business while upholding the laws placed upon him is punished while those who operate illegally will continue to go unnoticed and unreprimanded. 

This article is by no means an encouragement to use vapor products of any kind. There are still unknowns regarding the long-term effects of vape products, so there still should be caution with continued usage. Drugs are drugs and can have negative effects on how our bodies function. Inhaling potentially harmful substances into our lungs is not a healthy decision. However, there should not be hasty conclusions when only two deaths have occurred. There are far more pressing matters such as preventing further carnage from gun violence and safeguarding reproductive rights. Politicians must truly consider the consequences that will come from a ban.

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