Community responds to incoming Oroville vape bans


The smoke shop Darkside sells multiple different vaping products. Photo credit: Julian Mendoza

Chico State’s campus is usually lined with students tabling for different reasons, such as recruitment for clubs or Greek life. Others go to campus and table to share their ideas about the world with students.

That’s what Nick Bowman and Gabe Trujillo set out to do by setting up a table in front of the Student Services Center with a sign that read “whatever it said – need to change.”

In the midst of all the illnesses and deaths related to vaping, and government officials calling for various bans on vape products, the two were sharing their pro-vape stance with those on campus, in light of recent legislature changes. Oroville’s City Council recently approved moving forward with a ban on flavored tobacco products, which would include flavored vape juices.

Referencing this, Bowman stated that he is against the idea of banning flavored vapes.

“If you’re gonna ban those flavors, people like me that enjoy those flavors are probably not gonna want to vape a tobacco flavor,” Bowman said. “I feel like that can make people turn over to cigarettes and backfire in away.”

Trujillo said that he thinks flavored vapes can attract people who usually smoke cigarettes and draw them away from those cigarettes.

“That would help them from getting away from that taste of tobacco in their mouth,” he said.

There is also the concern that flavored vapes are targeting kids, which seems to be the main reason why city council members in Oroville are moving forward with the ban.

Roxy Hoofard, the manager at Darkside, a store in Chico that sells vapes and e-cigarettes, does not believe that banning flavored vapes is a solution to the problem of kids vaping.

“People assume that it’s targeted toward children, but adults are the real sweets-eaters,” Hoofard said.

Others, like Chico State student Daniel Nguyen, think that banning flavors is a good way to get vapes away from kids.

Nguyen, however, also brought flavored alcohol into the mix, questioning why flavored vapes are being singled out as a negative product that targets kids while no one is calling to ban flavored alcohol.

“You can’t choose one vice over the other,” Nguyen said. “If you are choosing tobacco [to ban], you can’t skip over alcohol.”

“Flavored alcohol needs to be the first thing to be banned before we ban flavored vaping… Kids think that smoking is bad,” Hoofard said. “They’re generally not gonna start smoking until they’re at least 17 or 18.”

While most students on campus who passed by the table voiced their support of vaping, Bowman and Trujillo were prepared for students who had a negative opinion on vaping. When someone approached their table voicing their opinion against vaping, the two were ready with facts supporting their stance, mostly comparing the harms of vaping to the harms of cigarettes.

As for Chico, mayor Randall Stone, when asked if a similar ban would make its way to Chico, said that a ban on flavored tobacco products has not been requested.

“However, it is possible this will cause (at least a temporary) ban on cannabis cartridges as the city works to legalize dispensaries in Chico,” Stone said.

The vaping ban will be discussed at Oroville’s planning commission’s next meeting on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports.