• Sean Mills

How Dick Durbin Wants to Dick You Down

Senators Dick Durbin (R-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have sponsored a bill that would remove every flavored e-liquid from shelves across the nation.  The Stop Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids Act, or the Safe Kids Act, was introduced in March and would remove from store shelves any flavors you enjoy, except tobacco flavors. 

The purpose of this bill is to yank away your options to vape flavors you like as an adult consumer of nicotine products in the name of “saving the children.”  We’re violently against it, and you should be, too.  The bill would allow only tobacco flavors to be sold, and no others (to include menthol).

The “SAFE Kids Act” is primarily justified by Mr. Durbin and Mrs. Murkowski by increasing use of vapor products by minors.  Instead of attacking that issue, they’ve decided to take away your choices. 

To have a realistic chance to curb youth access to tobacco, vapor, and other nicotine products, Congress has plenty of options.

  • appropriate funds to bolster nicotine education programs in schools

  • drastically increase consequences for establishments that sell to underage users

  • require training for all employees selling nicotine products

  • require a federal license to sell nicotine products

  • impose more severe penalties on adults who purchase restricted products for minors

Let’s be real – the reasons that minors use nicotine products are that some stores do not check ID as thoroughly as they are required, and because legal adults give them the products.  Pulling all flavors from store shelves will not make this stop. 

The primary reason minors pursue these products is for the effects that nicotine provides, not the flavors.  Flavors just make it more attractive. To effectively stop access, the sources must be targeted – retailers and the adults making “straw purchases,” as they’re known in the firearm trade.

This is burning down the house to kill the spider.  In a move like this, the people that are the most hurt are adult vapers who’ve successfully switched from cigarettes.  The harm this will do to those adults – many of whom will return to smoking – far outweighs any perceived  benefits of reducing youth interest in vaping.

There’s no mistaking that this would also devastate the vaping industry and close nearly all retail vapor stores immediately.  Online businesses with staff would also likely be forced to shutter their doors. 

Some of you will read this and think, “Well that’s fine, I can make a flavored juice myself.”  I don’t ask that you care about us in the vaping industry nearly to the extent that you care about a parent, grandparent, or elderly neighbor.  Could your grandmother make a flavored juice herself that would make her switch?  Maybe, but most of us can’t say that.  Don’t be selfish, and don’t be a Dick… Durbin.

This is important, and a real threat to something you enjoy.  Tell @SenatorDurbin and @lisamurkowski on Twitter and on social media that the SAFE Kids Act will not save children, and will hurt adults.

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