Yesterday afternoon the Governor of Massachusetts, Charles D. Baker, declared a state of emergency and announced at a press conference that the state will ban the sale of all vaping products. While precise details are not available at this time (exact starting date of the ban, duration, etc.,) comments made during the presser make it sound like the ban may last four months.
The pause in marketing of these products will hopefully give health officials time to better understand the growing number of serious lung illnesses and deaths (9 as of this writing) that are linked to vaping.
To be clear, the purpose of this post is NOT to offer up to the minute details on the 500+ cases of potential vaping associated pulmonary illness (VAPI.) Neither is it my intent to defend or criticize the Governor’s decision. In the spirit of “accepting things I cannot change,” I recognize that neither my applause nor my griping will change the circumstances.
In response to the Declaration of Emergency, I have heard folks who vape say things like, “What do they (the government, I suppose) want me to do, go back to smoking cigarettes?”
If there’s a 4 month ban on vaping sales in the state, it will certainly create considerable inconvenience for people who vape. But a vaping ban will not “make” anyone go back to smoking! The Governor’s ban does not force anyone to smoke tobacco (or any other substance.) Vaping is a choice just like smoking is a choice. Stopping is also a choice. Stopping is not an easy choice for many of us. It took me 25 to 30 serious quit attempts before I found “the quit that could live with.” Nope, not easy, but absolutely possible!
I don’t think any of us like to feel forced into situations. We all like to have choices. So, maybe at first glance, the vaping ban appears to take away your choice. A scenario without a choice feels wrong! But there is a choice we can insert into this scenario. We can choose to see this ban as an invitation to make a change (probably a change we’ve been thinking about for a while!) Let that sink in. Massage it a little if you need to. Doesn’t it feel better to have a choice? There are, after all, always at least two ways to look at any situation.
So instead of accusing the Governor, let’s try choosing to get off of nicotine’s leash, once and for all! That mission has been near and dear to my heart for over 20 years. I count it a privilege to serve individuals who are brave enough for this journey.
Consider this an invitation to talk with your healthcare provider about the seven FDA approved tobacco cessation medications. Along with behavioral and social support, those legitimate medications can increase your chances of success! Check out the QuittersWin groups that are offered in Massachusetts and other supports!