Why Vapers Should Vote for Bernie Sanders
In case I haven’t mentioned this before, I am a political junkie, and I am completely engrossed in this crazy, historical election. I can barely think about anything else. But vaping rights are an issue near and dear to me, so I have been trying to reconcile my stance on vaping with my choice for President. Bernie Sanders has caught my attention.
I’m Feeling the Bern
Before I continue, it is only fair to tell you that I am one of those annoying Berners, who is excited about Senator Sanders’ campaign and doesn’t understand why everyone doesn’t feel the same. I deeply care about human rights, economic inequality, social justice, climate change, and everything else Bernie Sanders is passionate about. Most important of all, I agree that we have got to get the big money out of the political system and restore our democracy.
And This Has What to do With Vaping?
I am so glad you asked! Last week I wrote an article speculating on the reasons why there is such a strong backlash to vaping, which has been scientifically proven to be 95% safer than smoking. All you need to do is think about which groups have the strongest interest in restricting vaping and tarnishing the image; those groups are the tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry; the companies that make patches and nicotine gum and companies like Pfizer, which makes billions of dollars by prescribing the dangerous drug Chantix to people trying to quit smoking.
The pharmaceutical companies that make the patches and gums and pills and lozenges have political action committees (PACs) which donate heavily to state and federal legislators throughout the country. The tobacco companies similarly make huge donations to both democrats and republicans. Like Senator Sanders says, do you think they are doing this to be nice, or do they expect something in return?
This is Why We Should Support Sanders
Will Bernie Sanders embrace vaping rights? I doubt it. I am not even sure if he knows what vaping is. But what he will not do is allow special interests (big tobacco and big pharma) to pervert the process. And let’s be honest, the rush to ban vaping all over the country, while partly fueled by well-minded public health professionals, is most definitely also guided by the current quid pro quo that is Washington DC and throughout the nation.
A multi-billion dollar industry, which mushroomed in record time, is in great jeopardy by the American political system. Here is what we know for sure about this endangered industry:
- Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States;
- Almost 500,000 people in the US die annually from a smoking-related illness;
- Vaping is 95% safer than smoking;
- More than 10% of US adults now vape;
- Smoking rates are plummeting as vaping rates are rising.
Take a moment and let that soak that in. A product now exists that is putting a sizable dent in the rate of smoking in the United States. A dent in the leading cause of death in the United States. And that product is about to be relegated to being treated no differently than tobacco and alcohol, and quite potentially regulated and taxed out of existence.
Are You Bernin’ Yet?
Every time I really think about the “war on vaping” it boils my blood, because I truly believe that some big bad financial interests have put this lifesaving technology in their crosshairs. I get it: the successful continued rise of vaping will eradicate the tobacco industry and ruin the industry for all other smoking cessation devices. Vaping is to smoking what Uber is to cabs. And there is only one candidate proposing the type of political system in which vaping can have an honest chance to supplant smoking entirely and ensure a healthier, smoke-free future.
Until that day comes, whether you #FeeltheBern or not, Keep Calm and Vape On.
Spinfuel Columnist Julie Selesnick is the president of The Happy Vapor Company. As an attorney-turned-writer Julie brings to the vape community a sharp mind, a strong sense of justice, and the willingness to fight for the rights of those that have chosen vaping to escape the deadly affects of tobacco products.