E-cigarettes and tobacco products have been the focus of the country over the past few weeks in the wake of a spike in illnesses that many officials believe are tied to these products. In a sweeping measure, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette and tobacco products throughout Los Angeles County. This even includes menthol-flavored products. According to a news release, the vote was unanimous.
The meeting of this board was attended by a lot of spectators, including more than 100 students. In addition, there were experts from a variety of health organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the University of Southern California, as well as the University of California at Los Angeles.
A Recent Rise in Illnesses
Over the past few months, many people have been hospitalized with a mysterious respiratory illness. The recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that about 530 cases may have been linked to vaping. In addition, there have been multiple deaths reported across the country as well. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done before any conclusions can be reached regarding this illness. Some people think that the vaping products might be contaminated in some way while others believe that the degradation of the equipment itself might be to blame. Regardless, multiple regulatory bodies have gotten involved as the public pushes for everyone to get to the bottom of this. Furthermore, many vaping companies, such as Juul, are currently facing lawsuits.
Governments are Reacting to the Illnesses
Some bodies have labeled this recent rise in illnesses as a public health emergency and Los Angeles is not the first government body to respond to this mysterious respiratory condition. The news out of Los Angeles comes on the heels of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker who called for a temporary ban across the entire state of all e-cigarette and vaping products. While it is understandable that everyone is concerned about the recent rise of illnesses, many have criticized these bans as an example of overreach. Because it is unclear exactly what is responsible for these illnesses, critics have argued that innocent products are being punished unnecessarily. Furthermore, there is a significant concern that this will drive many people back toward cigarettes or toward black market products, which might be even more dangerous. This is going to have impacts on the public as a whole.
Impacts on the Public
In the next week there will be another meeting in Los Angeles to take a vote on the ban, once this meeting takes place depending on the ruling the ban will take place within thirty days.
There are many stores that rely on these products for a significant source of their income. In addition, many people who use these products are concerned about how the ban is going to affect them. Some people have been using these products to break their addiction to cigarettes and are unsure of exactly how they are going to be affected. Fortunately, people should know that this ban is not on all vaping products so there are still going to be options available. Once the investigations are completed and the cause of the illnesses has been uncovered, safe products should be sold once again. In the meantime, people should take a look at the products that are not affected by the ban. This should provide a suitable alternative until the government investigations have been concluded.