Several weeks ago, there was a call for a federal government ban on flavored vape pens due to the reported six deaths relating to the devices. Hearing this, I honestly thought it was the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

Personally, I had a feeling that there was more to these vape-related deaths until my assumption was confirmed to be true. It turned out that the six deaths were caused by vape pens that were bought from the black market, not from any regular shop.

As someone who used to vape, I’m not going to tell anyone who is old enough not to do so. Everyone in this country has the right to choose whatever they want to put in their body, and we all know some legal products that are unhealthy that people still consume (fast food, alcohol, tobacco, etc.).

My big question is … if you ban something, does it really just go away? If your answer is no, then you know exactly where I’m heading on this one.

Banning vape pens based on six deaths is asinine. If banning a consumable item based on a number of deaths was that realistic, alcohol and tobacco products would’ve been banned long ago.

Of course, even if these were banned, this would only benefit the dealers in the black market. If anyone remembers their history class well, alcohol was banned at one point in this country from 1920 to 1933. During the time of Prohibition, we saw the rise of organized crime and bootlegging, which is grand proof that bans don’t work.

The same can be said on the War on Drugs. We’ve seen more organized crime and smuggling since its start in 1971.

To this day, there are people who would want to ban almost everything if they could — guns, pornography, sodas, vaccines, certain over the counter medications, the list goes on.

Are all of these items worth banning when that only results in them being sold on the black market? There are things I do not care for or like, but do I want them banned? No, I do not.

The reason why I am against bans in general is the basic fact that it will bring more profit to the black market. Just like the vape pens that reportedly killed those six people, items from the black market tend to be tampered with.

I probably know what you are thinking: Why don’t we just get rid of the black market? The answer is that doing so is much easier said than done. There is no main base for the black market. Most of the time, business on the black market is done anonymously and in different ways. Just because one way is taken out, more still exist or get created. After all, any deals and actions made on the black market are organized crime. No one can really stop organized crime, but it can be weakened.

How? The answer is simple. Legalize items that have been banned, and stop banning items in general. Yes, anything that is legalized will be regulated, but it will help cease illegal business on the black market. Sure, everyone is not going to like everything that would become legal to purchase and own, but it would be for the better if we stop giving the black market more business. It’s about time that we all finally realize that banning items never works.

Nolan Schmidt is an independent filmmaker, and serves as the County Chair for the Guadalupe County Libertarian Party.

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(1) comment


Bans not only perpetuates black market activity, but also the thought that the government should replace the need for individual reasoning and personal responsibility in controlling problems.

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