Even Deep Blue Virginia refuses to ban flavored vaping
Vaping is now a real hot-button issue when it comes to winning over voters for the upcoming 2020 elections regardless of a candidate’s political affiliation. When President Trump announced his intentions in early September 2019 to ban all flavored vapor products, millions of right-leaning Americans expressed immediate outrage while threatening to withdrawal their support in November.
Could the same thing be happening in the deep blue state of Virginia but for the democrats?
On Tuesday, the democrat-controlled state senate voted to defeat a bill that would prohibit the sales of all flavored vapes, even including menthol. A week earlier, a similar piece of legislation made its way through the House, but it, too, would not pass. Instead both senate and house representatives overwhelmingly voted to table the issue until 2021.
The democrats currently have a stranglehold on the state of Virginia, which is rather noteworthy considering that about 150 years ago the City of Richmond was the federal capital of the Confederate States of America. But things really began to swing wildly left in 2017 when Virginians voted to install a democratic governor, lieutenant governor, and state attorney general in one fell swoop.
The republicans managed to maintain a slight majority in both houses of congress but just by the skin of their teeth. In fact, the controlling majority in the house was ultimately decided by a literal coin-flip. While a tie in an election – state or otherwise – is very rare, that’s precisely what happened in the 94th District of Virginia. To resolve the tie, state officials were forced to resort to an antiquated law from the 1800’s.
Republican David Yancey would go on to win that coin toss, putting the House Majority squarely in his party’s hands, but the Democrats would have their revenge in 2018. Today, both houses of the state congress are firmly in the control of the democrats who also still hold the governorship, lieutenant governorship, the office of the state attorney general.
And did we mention that both federal senators in Washington DC are from the democratic party, as well? That’s right. Senator Tim Kaine (former vice presidential candidate of Hillary Clinton) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (one of the most vaping-hating politicians in the country) are both from the state of Virginia.
Are Virginia Democrats are just biding their time until after the election?
With all this political democratic clout and firepower, one would be inclined to think that any legislative attempt to ban flavored vaping statewide would be an automatic shoo-in. However, that was not the case last week. There were five separate bills presented on the house and senate floors, and all five were tabled until 2021.
- House Bill 93: Wanted to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products and vapes), including menthol e-liquids and cigarettes;
- HB 1283: Wanted to require retailers to obtain special state-issued permits from the state if they wanted to sell flavored vapes and tobacco products; the bill also tried to ban the sales of tobacco products within 1,000 feet of a “youth-oriented facility.”
- HB 1120: Wanted to increase the state taxes on all “tobacco products” EXCEPT FOR TOBACCO CIGARETTES
- HB 1185: Wanted to restrict the sales of flavored tobacco and vapes to only age-restrictive retailers and other venues;
- HB 1119: Wanted to ban the sale of flavored vapes and tobacco while lowering the maximum penalties;
Virginia vapers should be careful of becoming too cocky or too complacent though. They may have won this latest battle over a flavored vaping ban, but the war on vaping is not yet won. Look for this vaping ban proposal to rear its ugly head once again in the days immediately days following the 2020 election.
The democrats may just be biding their time until the voters are no longer looking, but there’s also a good chance that a vaping ban will never pass in this state. After all, Virginia may be deep blue, but it’s also deep in the heart of Tobacco Country. And Virginians are very proud of their rich, centuries-old, tobacco heritage – just like they love their controversial statuary.
Related Article: Vapescore 2016: Virginia Beach ranked vape-friendliest U.S. city
(Image courtesy of Wikipedia.com)