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Towards the end of summer in 2019 and the beginning of autumn, Virginia experienced a health crisis. Teens started falling ill, with some dying from vaping. Initially, vaping had been promoted as a smoke-free option whose proponents claimed it was healthier than traditional smoking.
However, vaping has eventually become a rage among teenagers. Several high school students are now vaping because manufacturers of vaping devices have marketed the practice as harmless. What many people didn’t know is that not all vaping products are safe. Additionally, the vaping industry has been mostly under or unregulated.
Consequently, substandard vaping products emerged in the market. And, even when a person invests in the best e cigarette, they could still use a substandard e-liquid. Thus, they could still suffer the adverse effects of vaping. This device is generally used to deliver nicotine or other concentrates into the user’s body. Unlike a traditional cigarette, this device heats the concentrate to produce the vapor that a person inhales.
Since a vaping device is battery-powered, it does not involve combustion. Thus, no smoke is produced or inhaled when vaping. It is the major difference between traditional smoking and vaping. It’s also the reason why some people have advocated for vaping, arguing that the habit is a safer alternative to smoking.
Why Virginia Enacted a New Smoking Law
Electronic cigarettes were introduced in the market over a decade ago. At this time, tobacco consumption among the young people was declining in the U.S. Although some young people started to vape, the rate of vaping was lower than that of smoking traditional cigarettes.
However, the development of flavored vaping products, as well as small and readily disguisable vapes whose marketers targeted the youth, made more young people start vaping. The increasing rates of vaping among the child became a concern for school officials, parents, and health officials. It, combined with increasing reports of lung injuries, prompted the state to enact a new law that covered the use of different vaping products, including the best electronic cigarette.
New Smoking Law in Virginia
Although some people consider vaping a healthier alternative to smoking, the habit is not harmless. For instance, the federal and state governments have been prompted to rethink the whole vaping issue by increasing reports of lung illnesses that are related to the habit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all 50 states, including the U.S Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico had reported EVALI cases and/or deaths as of 18th February 2020. CDC and FDA noted that most patients reported having used vaping products from informal sources like unregistered online dealers, family members, and friends. What’s more, most individuals had used THC-containing vaping products.
It is such reports that prompted Virginia to come up with new smoking laws. In 2019, Virginia House and Senate passed legislation that raised the legal vaping and smoking age to 21 years from 18 years old. This law covers nicotine vapor products, alternative nicotine products, and all tobacco products. Specific emphasis has been placed even on the best e cigarettes, e-liquids, and vaporizers.
This law is important because a significant percentage of high school students were taking up vaping before this legislation was passed. What’s more, Virginia had also reported cases of vaping related illnesses among the teens.
In addition to raising the vaping and smoking age, this legislation added restrictions to mailing, shipping, and labeling of nicotine products and e-liquids. For instance, this legislation introduced steep penalties for people that provide vaping devices to individuals that are below the legal age.
What’s more, vaping products like e-liquid and juices should display the Surgeon General’s warning, just like traditional cigarettes. Virtually, this law affects all vaping products, including the best e cigs.
Where Vapers Can Enjoy E-Cigarettes
Historically, Virginia has always had lax smoking regulations. However, this state moved the smoking age to 18 from 16 in 1991. The new legislation has raised the bar higher to curb the spread of smoking and vaping among teens.
People that are traveling to Virginia for the first time may want to know where they are allowed to vape and where smoking is prohibited. According to the Virginia Clean Arir Act (2009), the use of electronic cigarettes is not banned statewide. However, it is illegal to vape in some places.
For instance, it’s illegal to use electronic cigarettes on school property. It includes classrooms and school buses. People are also not allowed to vape in school-sponsored activities. School campuses also have signage indicating that vaping is not allowed. Additionally, the local governments are permitted to enact legislation for regulating the use of electronic cigarettes.
Vaping on railway systems and 100 feet of these platforms is also prohibited. The state is not exact whether municipalities are allowed to implement their local ordinances to restrict vaping. Currently, no individual counties or cities in Virginia have implemented more anti-vaping regulations. Thus, people can vape in other places except in those prohibited by the Clean Air Act.
Vaping Bans Pushback
It’s not surprising that the move by the state and federal government to change the smoking age from 18 to 21 years has drawn pushback. The vaping industry has spent billions of dollars on product development and marketing. As such, advocates of vaping argue that smoking laws that prohibit smoking in some places can destroy this nascent industry, yet it’s becoming a boon to the smoking cessation efforts of some people.
What’s more, restricting vaping age and places can lead people that are using quality products to unregulated devices and juices. It can lead to more health problems as people turn to unregulated products from the black market.
The Bottom Line
Vaping is allowed in places where smoking is allowed in Virginia. However, local governments and individual establishments are allowed to decide where to allow vaping and smoking, as well as, where to prohibit these practices. Nevertheless, it’s recommended to check with the local officials or the manager of an establishment to know whether you can use the best e cig in a place with no smoking or no vaping signage.