A couple of days ago I read this story about a guy getting arrested for selling drugs that people could put in their e-cigarettes. Damn, more fuel to the fire. I'm sure some of the ANTZ will pick up on this and use it to create some kind of scaremongering story blaming e-cigarettes for teen drug abuse, and I'm not sure I can be bothered to write another post about how many household devices that are perfectly capable of doubling as equipment used for taking drugs. Go ahead, ban bottles cause they can be used to smoke pot right?
Anyway, the story also got me thinking about one of the effects of banning or over-regulating e-cigarettes. Do you really think people would stop buying e-liquid or advanced e-cigs? I don't. One thing I'm very sure of is that both bottles of e-juice and the equipment to vape it is here to stay. Millions of users won't quit that over night and I'd be very surprised if we don't continue to see an increase in users even with a ban in place. These devices are just to damn effective as quit smoking aids, and the success stories are just to many for that to happen. On top of that, the stories about people dying or even getting ill or hurt from e-cigarettes are practically non-existent. So where would we get our e-juice and mods if they are banned? You guessed it... a black market will rise and thrive under such circumstances... of course. Have a look at the survey that the Ashtray blog did on the consequences of an e-cig ban: http://goo.gl/Hvahos. 66% say they will buy from the black market!
So what would a black market for illegal e-cigarettes and e-juice look like? It might turn out in different ways, but one thing is certain: It will not be regulated in any way. We might see some of the vendors in today’s legal market moving to places where they won't be bothered by the authorities, but still they might face a lot of problems when trying to send into countries with bans in place. My experience with the market we have today is that most vendors and manufacturers are honest people trying to help others and make a living out of it while they are at it, so my guess is that most of them will disappear or try adapt to regulations (which might also drive them out of business eventually). The problem is that it is the people that we want to stay that will go away, and the ones that doesn't care to much about the legal stuff, or the safety of their customers, are likely to be the ones operating in the black market. In fact they might even like it better that way, cause now they really don't have to care that much about their reputation either as people will be more reluctant to complain about stuff they have bought illegally.
Another group of people that might be happy with another illegal, yet popular, substance is the people that already sell other illegal substances; the drug dealers. Kind of a scary thought isn't it? That the easiest way to get some e-juice could be buying it from the same guy that would also sell you cocain? We all know that the infamous gateway effect is basically just... well bullshit, but what if we end up with drug dealers selling nicotine e-liquid? Can you think of another kind of gateway effect, that is much more scary than the one Glantz and his disciples have made up? I can think of several...
photo credit: E-Cigarette/Electronic Cigarette/E-Cigs/E-Liquid/Vaping/Cloud Chasing via photopin (license)