We’ve all seen the news. Headline after headline…
“Outbreak of Lung Disease Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping” says the CDC.
“Sixth Person Dies of Severe Lung Illness, CDC Says to Stop Vaping as They Investigate 450 Cases” says People.com
“Cases of Vaping-Related Lung Illness Surge, Health Officials Say” says the New York Times.
“There Are Now Nearly 200 Cases of Severe Lung Illnesses Tied to Vaping” says LiveScience.com.
“Trump Administration Plans to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes” says the New York Times.
The truth is, yes, the illnesses are tied to vaping. But what the headlines are leaving out and are only including at the very bottom of their articles is that the lung illnesses are tied to vaping THC cartridges containing Vitamin E. acetate, which was thought to be a “revolutionary” thickening agent in the recreational cannabis industry (until the outbreak, of course). And, of course, the black market caught wind of the new “revolutionary” thickening agent, and now here we are.
Even after this discovery, health organizations and government officials continued telling the public to avoid using electronic cigarettes. In the meantime, a leading cannabis extractor located in Oregon admitted the company started using Vitamin E acetate as a thickening agent in a line of THC cartridges after a “revolutionary” discovery, which was apparently approved by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
After news of Vitamin E acetate as the culprit for what has been determined as lipoid pneumonia, a condition that occurs when fat particles enter the lungs, the company immediately discontinued all THC vaping products containing Vitamin E, while others in the industry simply went dark, letting e-cigarettes take the fall. And now e-cig flavor bans are coming from all directions.
A Growing List of Flavored Vape Bans Across the U.S.
In the wake of the lung illness outbreak, flavor bans are popping up all over the country. At White Cloud, we do agree that the vaping industry is no doubt in need of regulations to not only protect public health, but the industry itself. And for reasons like this. But, while health organizations and local governments might think they’re winning “the war” against vaping and the teen vaping “epidemic” with flavor bans, those opposed to such bans, including Michael Siegel, say what these bans will inevitably do is push vapers back to cigarettes or create an even bigger, unregulated, dangerous black market.
Imagine the headlines once uneducated vapers who’ve lost legal access to vapor products start trying to create their own flavored e-liquids using potentially harmful ingredients (like Vitamin E). Regardless of the findings regarding the recent lung illness outbreak and the potential consequences of enforcing harsh regulations on vapor products, state and local governments are still moving forward with flavor bans.
Michigan’s Flavored Vape Ban Takes Effect October 2
On September 4, 2019, Michigan became the first state to move forward with a ban on flavored vapor products, including mint and menthol varieties. The ban is taking place under the state’s emergency administrative rule by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Effective October 2, 2019, Michigan’s flavored vape ban will prohibit both retail and online sales of flavored vaping products within the state, with an exception for tobacco-flavored vapor products.
New York Follows Michigan’s Footsteps – And Beats Them to It
New York came in on the heels of Michigan with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of an emergency ban on flavored vaping products in response to the recent outbreak of lung illnesses – despite the fact that the New York State Department of Health made an announcement regarding a breakthrough into the investigation with a possible link to THC vape cartridges, rather than nicotine e-cigarettes. The link was discovered after detecting high levels of Vitamin E acetate in nearly all of the THC cartridge samples analyzed by the Wadsworth center.
Regardless of the findings, the ban officially passed with a vote by the Public Health and Health Planning Council on Tuesday night, September 17. And now New York will officially become the first state to ban flavored e-cigs, beating Michigan by just a few days with the effective date of October 1st.
On a somewhat positive note, New York (unlike Michigan) will allow menthol vaping products to remain on the market. So those who use menthol electronic cigarettes will not be losing access on October 1st, however, there has been mention that this may only be “for now”.
White Cloud Tobacco Flavor Options for Customers Affected by Bans
By early October, we here at White Cloud will have no choice but to discontinue shipping flavored vapor products to our affected customers. Now as vapers ourselves, we’re having quite a hard time suggesting tobacco flavor options for our customers who will be affected by these upcoming flavor bans.
We simply cannot say, “Oh you enjoy our Espresso flavor? Then you’ll LOVE our Regular tobacco flavor.” No, you probably won’t. We know that. But it is possible to get used to it, just like you may have gotten used to e-cigs after switching from tobacco – and at this point, your only choices are to switch to a tobacco flavor, go back to traditional cigarettes 😱, or to simply quit altogether. We all know that’s easier said than done, even though studies have shown quitting e-cigs may be easier than quitting tobacco.
So which tobacco flavor should you choose? As a fan of our Cinnamon flavor, I’ve thought about what tobacco flavor I’d switch to if (or even when) flavors are banned in our area and decided I’d most likely switch to Bora Bora. This also seemed to be the option for some of our fellow fans of Cinnamon. What might make this a little easier for affected customers is our selection of tobacco flavors. We have six different tobacco flavored options to choose from, including two pipe tobacco flavors, while other brands may end up with just one.
White Cloud Flavor Options for Vapers Affected by Flavor Bans
Now let’s take a look at White Cloud flavors and which of our tobacco flavors could make a good replacement for Michigan and New York vapers affected by the flavor ban.
|White Cloud Tobacco Flavors||White Cloud Flavors Affected by Bans|
|Regular||Mint to Be, Zero K|
|Atlantic Cut||Muscat Blanc, What A Melon, Grand Ambrosia|
|Bora Bora||Mango Tango, The Hive, The Orchard, orAngelic|
|Cavendish||Vanilla, Copper Kettle, Whippin’ Good, Chocolate, Fraise Crème|
|Cherry Black||Cin, Cina-MMM|
Now, for those who prefer White Cloud’s flavored varieties, we know the suggested tobacco options won’t work as the best replacements for everyone. Some Cin users may migrate to Bora Bora instead of Cherry Black, and some Menthol, Mint to Be, and Zero K users may end up preferring Cherry Black or Cavendish. Luckily, we offer all flavors in single cartridges, so you can grab a few with your next order and decide for yourself which one will be the best replacement for your taste.
More Flavor Bans on the Way
If you aren’t a New York or Michigan resident but are wondering if your state or city will be the next to ban your favorite flavor, then here’s a list of other cities and states that have or are in the process of implementing a vaping flavor ban.
Arkansas Eyes Flavor Bans and Tax Increases
Officials in Arkansas have not officially moved forward with a proposed vape ban, but it may be next on the list as Arkansas Senate President Pro Tem Jim Hendren pushes the issue in an effort to gain support.
In the meantime, the state’s senate leader announced this week that the state plans to draft a bill to raise taxes on electronic cigarettes and ban them in places where smoking is prohibited.
California’s Vaping Bans
While California officials are pushing for a statewide emergency flavor ban and Governor Gavin Newsom is for the ban, he has stated he cannot take executive action to impose a ban as it requires legislative support, unlike Michigan and New York who are taking the power and running with it, despite those who oppose. This comes as a big surprise considering California has been at the forefront of implementing harsh regulations on vapor products; however, the state is still in the process of devising a plan that is similar to the Trump Administration’s plan. In the meantime, some California cities have been taking matters into their own hands.
In 2017, San Francisco became the first city to ban flavored tobacco products including flavored e-liquids and electronic cigarettes based on a unaminous vote by the city’s Board of Supervisors. An outraged vaping community was able to collect enough signatures to force a referendum vote on Proposition E, which was held and passed in June of 2018. On Friday, June 29, an even bigger ban was passed when Mayor London Breed signed an ordinance to ban vape sales within city limits, which would become effective 30 days from the signing and “operational” in January of 2020.
Voters will have yet another chance to vote on the matter in this year’s elections coming up in November with Proposition C. Voting in favor of Proposition C would partially overturn the city’s ban on vapor product sales and distribution within the city, authorizing the sale of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products.
The proposition would also require additional licensing and permits for businesses in the industry, including online sales, as well as implement additional age verification requirements and rules regarding the advertisement of vapor products.
Sacramento is yet another California city that has successfully passed a ban on flavored vapor products after the city council’s 7-1 vote in April of this year. The ordinance is expected to take effect in January 2020. Some confusing language comes along with the ban with City Code Enforcement Manager, Jose Mendez stating the ordinance will not require any of the city’s nearly 400 tobacco retailers to close; however, the city plans to close any shops that increase their inventory of flavored tobacco products, stop selling tobacco products for more than 60 days, or fail to renew their licenses. If the city closes shops for any of those reasons, the licenses will not be issued to new shops. Additionally, new tobacco retailers will be prohibited from opening within 1,000 feet of another shop.
Colorado’s Flavor Bans
Aspen became the first Colorado city to pass a ban on flavored vapor products in May of this year, with the effective date set for January 2020. The ban covers all flavored tobacco products as well, from traditional cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and cigars to chewing tobacco.
The city of Boulder finalized a plan to ban the sale of flavored vape products within city limits, along with raising the minimum purchasing age to 21. The city is also pursuing a hefty tax on the remaining legal (tobacco-flavored) vapor products at 40% and will be seeking voter approval on the November ballot while traditional tobacco cigarettes remain untouched. This presented a division in support as some council members believe that imposing a tax on the modern nicotine delivery systems would shift users back to traditional cigarettes. The effective date of the ban is still unclear.
Carbondale joined Aspen in the flavored vape ban bandwagon after being approved by the town’s board of trustees during a meeting in August. Two out of the nine speakers at the meeting opposed the ban with Denver-based representative Brian Fojtik stating the ban is an overreaction that will end up hurting the people using e-cigs to quit smoking instead of addressing how kids are getting their hands on these products. The ordinance will also raise the minimum age requirement for purchasing tobacco to 21. The ban’s implementation date is unclear, but will most likely take effect along with Aspen’s ban in January 2020.
Glenwood Springs is another Colorado city taking a step towards a flavored vape ban after an ordinance passed its first reading in late July. In addition to banning the sale of flavored vapor products, the ordinance will also raise the minimum age requirement for tobacco sales to 21.
Illinois Possible Flavor Bans
Chicago joined the growing list of vape bans across the country as we were putting together this article. The new “anti-vaping” initiatives were announced this past Monday, September 16. Senator Dick Durbin says the ban could take 30 days to take effect, so they’re looking at “other solutions”, including introducing an ordinance to ban flavored vape products at the next city council meeting.
Now, Illinois is looking to be next in line in banning both flavored tobacco products and electronic cigarette flavors statewide with House Bill 3887.
Washington D.C. Considers Joining the Flavor Ban Spree
According to a recent Tweet By Greg Conley, President of the American Vaping Association (AVA) and a New Jersey attorney, Washington D.C. is also looking into a flavor ban, along with other regulations. This comes on top of the city’s 96% wholesale tax on vapor products.
How Many More Flavor Bans Are on the Way?
It seems there is a new headline about a state or city planning to ban flavored vapor products every single day since the lung illness outbreak. As you can imagine, it’s getting a bit difficult to keep up with this list, but we will continue to add to it as the news unfolds to keep our customers up-to-date and ready to look at their options.
In the meantime, we’ll also be keeping an eye on the Trump Administration’s plans for flavored vapor products, which initially Trump was all for but is now backtracking. Even former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb has spoken out on Twitter, stating that the recent lung illness outbreak links to illegal products, not electronic cigarettes, while a Washington Post reporter spoke out in an article titled, “A vaping ban would be hysteria masquerading as prudence”.
Regardless, vaping bans are underway and we here at White Cloud will continue doing our best to keep our customers informed. In the meantime, we encourage you to follow Michael Siegel’s blog as he keeps up with all of the latest news and regulations surrounding electronic cigarettes and tells “The Rest of the Story”, along with CASAA’s Calls to Action page which posts about the latest vaping regulations and what vapers can do to make their voices heard.
As always, if you have any questions about White Cloud products or need more help choosing a tobacco flavor, our customer service team is always ready to help.