If you listen to some news sites, vaping is presented as the leading health crisis facing the nation, and the hysteria surrounding that coverage has led to an escalating fervor surrounding proposed vaping flavor ban initiatives across the country. With a sharp rise in deaths attributed to vaping and images of minors “Juuling”, regulators are pushing for a ban of flavored vaping at the least, and in some instances, bans of vaping altogether. If you’re one of our responsible adult customers who enjoy their vaping lifestyle, this assault on your rights is concerning, to say the least. We’re here to break down the latest developments in the illnesses surrounding these bans, the latest bans, and what you can do to help combat the rules and laws being used to rob you of your vaping rights.
Vaping Related Illnesses And Deaths
It’s important to note that the current health problems driving the panic causing vaping flavor ban initiatives are multi-faceted and not the single-problem issue some people are making them out to be. The two main public health concerns are:
- Vaping-Related Deaths - These have generated the most press as over two-dozen people to date have passed away with their deaths attributed specifically to vaping. What is often lost in the concern surrounding these tragedies is that the vast majority of these are firmly related to vaping illegal or counterfeit THC products. These are far different from legitimately produced nicotine vaping products sold through licensed and regulated vaping businesses. These illicit cartridges are, in fact, an illegal narcotic being sold in contravention of both state and federal law already, thus making it unlikely a vaping flavor ban will have any effect on their availability or usage.
- Vaping-Related Illnesses - With over 1300 patients in 49 states, the sudden rash of illnesses defies easy explanation. While most of the cases still cite THC vaping usage, not all do. While this rash of illnesses seemed to spring onto the scene in March 2019, flavored vaping has been around for over a decade, complicating the narrative that all access to flavored products should be halted.
Another reason cited for needing a vaping flavor ban is the rise in youth vaping. This is unequivocally a problem, but it is far from a new one. Most states already carry laws on the books prohibiting the sale of vaping equipment and supplies to those under the age of 18, much as laws ban the sale of tobacco products to those under 18 and alcohol to those under 21 years of age. Most people will recognize these as the same laws that kids have found a way around since the advent of age limits.
Despite the fact that responsible licensed suppliers should never be selling products for or to underage users, critics promote the idea that flavored products are targeted at teens. The idea that a responsible adult can’t like fun fruity or sweet flavors would be laughable, if it weren’t such a serious situation. Marketing to legitimate flavor preferences for adult users does not, by default, mean that manufacturers are targeting children. A vaping flavor ban simply reduces your options as a consumer in choosing how you vape.
Updates Around The country
While it may not make logical sense to ban vaping products, proponents around the country are taking the opportunity to push their agenda through regulatory agencies and legislative bodies. Here are a few updates from the most recent battlegrounds.
- New York City - While menthols at first looked to be excluded from vaping flavor bans being pushed at the state and city level, the most recent city council proposal removes even that option. Amendments to instead limit sales to shops that only allow people 21-and-up to enter failed, and this draconia ban seems all but certain of passage. Critics are attempting to warn council members of the economic impact such a ban would have on the dozens of licensed businesses this would destroy overnight to no avail. Health warnings about the negative impact on those who are attempting to or have successfully quit smoking have similarly fallen on deaf ears. Barring judicial intercedence, this ban will likely send shockwaves through the state and NYC vaping industry and community.
- Oregon Temporary Ban - The state of Oregon, following the lead of neighboring Washington state and others, is taking a more cautious approach with a 6-month vaping flavor ban. While acknowledging that many of the illnesses are either related to THC or currently unexplainable, the state seems to be taking the position that it will help curtail underage usage. Whether or not that is the case, a 6-month ban will be more than enough to drive some legitimate businesses to bankruptcy, hurting the economy on a local and state level.
- Michigan’s Ban Blocked - In positive news, the vaping flavor ban in Michigan, only several weeks old, has been temporarily blocked by a judge. In the ruling, the judge found that two businesses impacted by the ban showed that the state’s rush to change the rules would cause undue damage to their business. By skipping the normal rules-making process, retailers would be stuck with thousands of dollars worth of product they’d invested in that they would not be able to sell. Meanwhile, the judge also noted that the health benefits offered by vaping for those who want to quit smoking would likely be lost due to the emergency rules. Whether or not this injunction becomes permanent is still to be decided.
- Massachusetts Ban Continues For Now - A judge stopped short of halting The Bay State’s ban due to public interest, but did express skepticism about the emergency vaping flavor ban as written and its impact on businesses, illnesses, and teen vaping. Instead, the state was given one week to rewrite the ban, addressing its insufficiencies, and allow the public to weigh in on the measure, including affected businesses.
What You Can Do
If you want to protect your vaping rights, you need to make your voice heard. Contact your legislature at the state level and voice your opinion on vaping flavor bans. Even if nothing has been introduced, it is likely that groups in your state are pushing for a vaping flavor ban out of a sense of panic. Follow our blog to stay up-to-date on vaping illnesses, regulatory actions, and other issues that affect your right to vape as a responsible adult.