Making sense of tobacco policy

There is no doubt we need to do more to keep tobacco products out of the hands of children, including the now popular vapor products. We must be smart, however, about our approach, and our public policy should ensure the protection of children while also protecting the rights and responsibilities of adults, who can and should make such decisions on their own accord.

There are several proposals working their way through the State Capitol that would impose a blanket ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and vapor products. This is not the way to address issues of minors’ use of tobacco. Instead these bills would only impede adult users from accessing flavored vapor products that scientific studies show help people permanently switch from cigarettes.

In fact, recent data shows that most adult smokers who purchase vapor alternatives switch from combustible cigarettes within 90 days of use. This is just one of the many compelling reasons we shouldn’t be banning any such products.

With that said, lawmakers and advocates should push more for increasing the age to purchase any tobacco products, including vapor products, to 21 years old. Combined with strong educational campaigns on the harmful effects of tobacco and vapor products, we can severely limit the use by children. California should lead on this effort to restrict access and appeal of these products to youth while also preserving access for adults.

Smoking has cost significant loss within the Filipino community and that is why we should be doing everything we can to discourage tobacco use and finding ways to get folks to switch off of smoking all together or at least minimizing its use. Vapor products help people stop smoking and thus we don’t believe new laws to ban products is the right direction for our state or for our community.