Vaping and Voting: The Politicization of the Vape

In the past few months, there have been about 1,000 cases of vaping-related lung injuries reported in the United States. In response, a ban was proposed in September against vaping flavors in an effort to discourage the use of the product. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has now warned people against vaping, as its potential harm to the human body is not fully known and it is probably not best to use it until more is determined about its side effects. Though the government suggested the ban as a response to the unknown health risks associated with this product, they are receiving a lot of backlash for it, turning this product now into a politicized debate, one especially to think about in the next election. 

Now, there is a huge sweep to vote for candidates who support vaping or are at least willing to talk about it. For example, in the Wisconsin senatorial race in 2016, vapers voting seemed influential in the outcome of the election. They made a Vape Political Action Community (PAC) that was actually somewhat successful, raising a few thousand dollars and distributing about 400,000 postcards. The Vape PAC successfully got its word about supporting the candidate Ron Johnson. At his acceptance speech, winning Senator Johnson even thanked vapers because he believed they made that much of a difference in his win. Back in 2014, a state representative candidate allegedly lost her reelection race because her opponent got a last-minute boost from vaping groups. After this incident, the American Vaping Association even put out a press release celebrating the victory. Though there is some skepticism as to whether the vape groups actually made that much of an impact in these elections, their potential influence and the issue of vaping itself are topics to consider for future elections. 

Today, vaping groups are taking action to prepare for elections in order to attempt to have the influence they had before. The American Vaping Association is training vapers and vape supporters on how to become more politically active. This includes speaking at local government meetings, talking to press and officials calmly and registering to vote. All of these indications are those of a grassroots movement that will be one to look out for in the near future. 

Whether you support vaping or not, you will most definitely hear of the issue in the next election. What you thought was a harmless Juul that your friend had at a dorm party is now a part of a national conversation of health, safety and individual rights. People of all political parties and walks of life use this kind of product, so it will be interesting to see where this debate falls in the next few months. If supporting or opposing vaping is a major political issue of yours, then this conversation is for you. If it isn’t, just be aware that it is coming. This new grassroots movement has the potential to leave a mark on political candidates and hypothetically sway the election. 

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