If you live in either of these states, don’t reach for that pack of cigarettes just yet! There’s good news for you at the end of this article.
The Michigan ban would prohibit the online and retail sale of flavored vapes, including vaping products that use mint or menthol, for the next six months (and is eligible for renewal after that). It does not however cover tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes.
The ban also targets what the state calls “misleading marketing,” for vapor products with descriptions such as “safe,” or “healthy,” in addition to the use of all industry related billboard ads.
This legislative action stems from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who after the state health department constituted youth vaping a “public health emergency,” ordered the blanket ban. Whitmer went on record stating that her “number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan.”
Adding to the issue are recent headlines of lung illnesses and deaths stemming from vapor products… though reports are glossing over the fact that these cases are actually linked to counterfeit substances used in black-market marijuana products, with no proven direct relationship to e-cigarettes, although officials, “haven’t ruled [them] out.”
In fact, according to this ABC News article:
“Dr. Howard Zucker, the commissioner of Health for New York State, said there have been 41 patients in New York with lung illnesses after vaping. Samples were collected from eight of the patients and most of them had 'high levels of vitamin E acetate' which can damage lungs, he said. All of the New York cases have been tied to black market cannabis vaping pens”.
But lawmakers are choosing to ignore this fact, with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo adding that, "if you don’t know what you are smoking, don’t smoke it, and right now we don’t know."
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
Vaping advocates are putting up a fight.
Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, issued a statement saying: “This shameless attempt at backdoor prohibition will close down several hundred Michigan small businesses and could send tens of thousands of ex-smokers back to deadly combustible cigarettes.”
And here’s why that’s probably true:
A quick look at history indicates that government enforced prohibitions don’t tend to impact consumer behavior as intended, and rather, lead to a massive black market for the banned products. Hence the term speakeasy…
And although keeping flavored e-cigarettes out of the hands of youth is absolutely important, the solution is NOT to ban access to these products from responsible adults who purchase them legally. Instead, efforts should be focused towards increasing point-of-sale restrictions with retailers and online, and increasing education.
As many outraged consumers have pointed out, teens are bound to get their hands on other items -- such as flavored alcohol -- but the solution isn’t to BAN all alcohol now is it?
And worse yet, millions of smokers who have turned to vaping as a -- dare we say healthier -- alternative to smoking will be faced with a new dilemma: returning to cigarettes. The irony of it being that it will ultimately result in greater harm and suffering to the greater public health.
Unfortunately, these bans are popping up around the nation, with San Francisco becoming the first city to propose a flavor ban earlier this year, and many other cities are following suit.
Waking up to this news has been difficult for both consumers and retailers in Michigan and New York. But as they and many others around the nation are realizing, the time has come to find viable -- and legal -- solutions.
THE ROLE OF DIY
Over the past two years, and especially since vaping demanded the attention of lawmakers and federal agencies like the FDA, there has been a migration towards DIY and unflavored eLiquid.
The battle being fought is against flavored eLiquids -- especially those marketed towards youth with vibrant colors and flavors. DIY allows vapers to start with flavorless nicotine, like our BASE liquids, then add their own flavors or sweeteners.
The FDA has established strict regulations to help ensure product integrity and safety within the vaping industry. Given today’s black market of counterfeit vaping products, it’s more important than ever before for vapers to know exactly where their vaping supplies come from and that they can fully trust the company they are purchasing from. Vapers should always demand to know if the products they are going to vape are pre 8-8-16 and registered with the FDA.
With the way everything is going, unflavored eLiquid is quickly becoming the solution for vapers living in affected (or soon to be) areas. And it’s not just a “workaround” either. DIY offers consumers the chance to customize their vaping experience -- including nicotine levels -- for full control over what they’re vaping.
We’ll keep you posted as more news comes out on the matter. In the meantime -- what do you think of the flavor ban? Drop us a line and let us know.
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