Flavored Vape Bans Put on Hold in Multiple States

By Meiji Rong

Kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors were banned in Oregon to stop minors from using electronic cigarettes, however, on Oct. 17, that ban was put on hold.

Lawsuits filed by the Vapor Technology Association (VTA) and vaping business owners have temporarily stopped the bans in New York, Oregon, and Michigan. The association alleges that the prohibition is a government overreach and would result in a loss of $448 million in output.

“VTA continues to stand ready to work with the State of Oregon on the many real solutions that should be put in place that would actually restrict youth vaping,” the association wrote on Twitter on Oct. 17, “and preserve flavored vapor as an alternative for adults desperately trying to quit smoking.”

Juul e-cigarette
Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York on Dec. 20, 2018. (Seth Wenig/AP Photo)

The ban specifically aims to reduce vaping among younger people, who prefer the fruity flavors. About 20 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (pdf).

But store owners have said the ban will cost them heavily.

Mohammad Muhdasham, an employee from New York Smoke Shop, said his workplace would be affected negatively by 40 percent. He went on to say that electronic tobacco products are popular with his customers, young and old.

Flavor Isn’t Everything

The VTA also alleged in its press release that the ban is unfair: “Banning flavors for vapor products while leaving all flavored combustible products on shelves can only entice all users to smoke more. In addition, this action completely ignores the fact that the New York State Department has found that the overwhelming majority of the illnesses it is investigating are directly tied to black market THC products.”

San Francisco Poised To Become First U.S. City To Ban The Sale Of E-Cigarettes
A pedestrian walks by a neon sign advertising Juul e-cigarettes on June 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The CDC has linked nearly 1,500 cases of lung injuries to the use of vaping—most of which relate to black market products containing THC, a psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

And as for flavor, Adjunct Associate Professor Allen Adamson from New York University told us that it contributes to the vaping trend, but not so much.

“So the flavors helped, it made it seem safer and more fun to use, but the real power marketing was the product design, and this little e-cigarette looking so cool in their hand,” said the expert in branding and marketing. “And kids were wearing it as a fashion item.”

He added that although he thinks the ban is important, he does not believe it will do much good, as “the damage is already done.”

NTD Reporter Meiji Rong contributed to this article.