State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) dropped a bill Wednesday that would have regulated electronic cigarettes after it was gutted by an Assembly panel to no longer treat vaping devises as tobacco products facing the same restrictions as cigarettes.Senator Leno is a ridiculous pillock - allegedly funded by pharmaceutical interests - who knows the princely sum of fuck all about e-cigs, as we can surmise from his inept and hilarious pre-vote gobshitery.
E-cigarettes are tobacco products, and #SB140 ensures they fall under California's existing and effective smoke-free laws.— Mark Leno (@MarkLeno) July 8, 2015
.@MarkLeno discusses #SB140. E-Cigarettes are tobacco products, should be regulated as such. pic.twitter.com/amqBWjaqrr— CA Senate Dems (@CASenateDems) July 7, 2015
The bill (SB140) being scrapped and Leno making an arse of himself is great news in itself, but the composition of those who stuck the knife in his back is quite telling.
Five Democrats voted with Republicans for the amendment, which was sought by the electronic cigarette industry.As in the UK, the left - Democrats there and Labour here - tend to offer most opposition to vaping, arguably on the grounds of ignorance and incredibly lazy research (if they have bothered to do any at all). So Democrats shifting their view and siding with the angels is something of a surprise, maybe even an indication that times really are a'changing.
In the case of SB140, at a public meeting in April, over a hundred vapers lined up to publicly and personally object to Leno's madness while Mad Stan Glantz sat at Leno's side spouting his usual data-twisting bullshit. The people won, and a stupid politician advised by a self-serving and increasingly barking aircraft engineer lost. Badly. There can surely be no better result than that.
If the level of public support for e-cigs and harm reduction is starting to spook Democrats in the US, the dinosaurs of tobacco control who still push anti-vaping messages - despite overwhelming evidence going against them - will be rightfully marginalised even further as fundamentally untrustworthy cranks.
We've already seen evidence that high profile figures in the UK Labour party are beginning to understand that sections of the tobacco control industry have been lying to them, with Luciana Berger recently tweeting about the stupidity of Mark Drakeford's Labour-led ban in Wales. And quite right too, no-one except the most vile in society are that bothered about e-cigs, so any ban is unjust, unjustified and counter to every item of rhetoric an anti-smoking politician has ever uttered in the past. Plus, only the most vacant MP can ignore the unusually large volume of correspondence they receive from personally motivated vaping consumers and their friends and family. At the end of the day, politicians need votes, which I think California's Democrats have started to realise.
Leno's defeat should set alarm bells ringing in many jurisdictions over the issue of e-cigs. Most especially in Wales where Drakeford will hopefully soon be forced into a similar climbdown, as his pathetically blind bigotry and lack of political foresight transforms into humiliating embarrassment and an entry in the footnotes of political history as a crashing failure.
But for now, let's toast the vapers of California whose determination has seen off Leno's nonsense and sent a message around the world that, you know, e-cigs are really not tobacco products and politicians would do well to leave them alone if they value their careers.
On a side note, SB151 which would have raised the age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21 was also binned (perhaps influenced by an editorial in the LA Times). California politicians caring about personal adult choices? Whatever next!