New York Flavor Ban Blocked In Court
As reported by The New York Post, the poorly conceived ban on nicotine vaping flavors in New York has been blocked by a temporary restraining order.
The New York appellate court unanimously ruled that the state is, “temporarily enjoined and prevented from enforcing the flavor ban.” The temporary restraining order will remain in place until at least October 18th, when the parties return to court in Albany.
In light of this legal development, Vapor4Life is once again accepting and shipping orders to New York.
“We are very pleased with the New York State Appellate Division’s decision, which acknowledges the strength of our claims about the State’s executive overreach.”Tony Abboud, Vapor Technology Association Executive Director
For complete list of state flavor bans, check out our resource page:
The Vapor Technology Association convinced the New York Appellate court to grant this restraining order. The ban was scheduled to take effect on October 4 2018, and would prevent the sales of all nicotine vape juices except tobacco. Governor Cuomo was reportedly pursuing an extension of the ban to include mint and menthol flavors as well.
This restraining order is the first news that has been even remotely positive for the embattled vaping industry.
This reprieve will help vapers who were not aware that their governor and political class fully intended to strip them of their freedom to enjoy smoke and ash-free cigarette alternatives.
It is also the first opportunity the vaping industry has had to make their case to the court or general public, as executive actions and emergency orders have been utilized to fast track flavor bans in Massachusetts, Michigan and New York.
The Michigan flavor ban was the first of strict ecig law to take effect at the state level and remains in place. It currently faces legal challenges. The Massachusetts law, the strictest by far, also faces legal challenges.
On a positive note, a Republican state lawmaker submitted legislation that would exempt low nicotine vape juices. State Representative Steve Johnson, R-Wayland’s effort to amend the flavor ban represents an approach that is similar to the successful policies in place in the UK.
In both cases, the maximum nicotine level for flavored vape juices is two percent. Michigan permits higher nicotine levels for tobacco flavored eliquids. The UK takes this a step further. The taxpayer funded National Health Servive (NHS) actively promotes vaping as an alternative to cigarettes, hosting using e-cigarettes to stop smoking resource page.
Of course, the UK’s National Health Service has skin in the game and stands to benefit from smokers switching to a nicotine delivery method that they have determined is 95 percent less harmful.
The UK has been ruthless in the past about kicking to the curb any health modality that is not backed up by science or proves less cost effective than other alternatives. Homeopathy and herbal medicine were slashed several years ago. Whatever your stance on natural medicine, there is no denying that the bean counters at the NHS heed no sacred cows.
Juul in the News
On the local level, the San Francisco ecig ban was passed by the city’s board of directors earlier this spring. Juul has opted not to fight the San Francisco vape ban, after initially spearheading a campaign to overturn the law.
Juul has been stung by bad press in recent years. First, they named an ejuice flavor Creme Brulee, after the faux-French dessert that peaked in popularity during the Clinton years. This caused a public outcry, for no discernible reason, and forced a name change.
They also learned first hand of the dangers of marketing ecigs to millennials on social media. Millennials are not minors, with an age range of 24 to 39 years of age. The recent huge drop in smoking rates does not impact this demographic, but this did not stop the Senate from investigating Juul.
Fruit Flavor Fallacy
Juul does not make the complex vape juices that have drawn so much scorn from the political class. The most fanciful flavors are generally high VG and low nicotine juices. These are typically vaped in box mods. This style of device is most popular with early middle aged vapers.
They are loud, thirsty and generate a ton of vapor. They have also been on the market for years at this point, but the surge in underage use did occur until potent nic salts hit the market. For a more thorough understanding of the importance of nicotine salts, make sure you check out our feature What is Salt Nic?
Anyone paying attention knows that teens have gravitated towards discrete, silent and highly potent nicotine delivery systems. The fruit flavor fallacy, the myth that sweet ejuice flavors are kid-friendly and were formulated to hook minors has proven to be the most durable and dangerous Zombie Vaping Myth.
We understand that parents are concerned about teen vaping. This is why we created this guide, Signs and Symptoms of Teen Vaping, to help you spot the subtle indicators that your child may be using an electronic cigarette.
Keep in mind, that we want you to quit vaping. Our goal has always been to help smokers switch to vaping and to help vapers reduce their nicotine level. We call this “The Road to Zero“. We even carry nicotine free Juul compatible pods.
We are not interested in selling our products to non-smokers and do not sell to minors. We use industry leading age verification technology and card everyone who walks into our Northbrook vape shop.
That being said, the market for fruit and dessert vape juices is a competitive one. In order to stand out, retro themed ejuices that targeted adult vapers quickly flooded the market and there were some poor packaging choices that may have violated trade dress.
But a closer analysis reveals that in most cases the packaging is based on cultural references make no sense to anyone who is less than 30 years of age. If you see a sugar coated cereal being referenced on a vape juice bottle, please keep in mind that it is not 1986.
In a press conference covered by CNBC, Scooby Snacks, and gummy bears were used as snarl words by Senators Romney and Merkley. These names do not resonate with today’s youth and appeal to Gen X and millennials.
Expecting minors to be moved to make a purchase by the name “Scooby Snackss is equivalent to targeting a child in the 1970s with the comedic stylings of W.C. Fields and catchy Big Band Music.
Scooby Doo does not have the cultural cache it did 40 years ago, when teenage viewers assumed that marijuana fueled the histrionics and cowardice of Shaggy and the gang. The same holds true for Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Gummy Bears and any number of other millennial and Gen X cultural touchstones that vape companies have co-opted.
Tobacco giant Altria is in favor of flavor bans, for fairly obvious reasons. The FDA approved iQOS would surely fare better in a market where the only competition is tobacco flavored ecigs. Adult vapers who have quit smoking entirely have shown a preference for flavored ejuices. Stripping them of this option is likely to funnel them back onto cigarettes.
At the same time, current smokers are likely to give the nod to the heat not burn technology of the iQOS after a summer of terrible publicity for the vaping industry. This choice becomes even easier when the only other options are also tobacco flavored.
Juul has also been in favor of flavor bans. Juul Mint is their most popular flavor and the most popular flavor with minors. Despite New York threatening to add menthol to list of banned flavors, it was not included in the ban.
A cynic might suggest that all of this reeks of regulatory capture. The largest stake holders are pushing for regulations that just happen to knock out all of their competition while leaving them with a virtual monopoly.
Refillable vape pods and ecigs are simply far more cost effective. A 30ml bottle of nic salts costs between ten and twenty dollars. A refillable vape pod device runs $15 to $75. Each Juul pod contains a mere 0.7ml of nic salt ejuice, meaning that you are literally paying at least ten fold more for the same quantity of nic salt. You could literally throw your refillable vape pod in the garbage after each bottle consumed and still end up well ahead.
For a deep-dive into the Juul device and how it revolutionized vaping, check out The Truth and Technology Behind Juul and Nic Salts revealed.
Both Juul and Altria are playing with fire though, as anti-vapers are unlikely to stop with sweeping bans if teen use does not start to recede. And any ban that leaves the flavor most popular with minors in place is unlikely to address the crisis.
The vaping panic can be traced to a refusal to wait until the cause of vaping lung disease was definitively identified. This issue was exacerbated by reporting that conflated commercially available nicotine delivery systems and black market THC cartridges laden with a vitamin E thickeners. No commercially available nicotine delivery system has been blamed in any of the lung incidents.
Vapor4Life does not sell products that contain THC and our Wow and Premium ejuices do not rely on vitamin E based thickening agents. This may seem like a pointless disclaimer. But confusion over this important distinction has opened the door to a number of state wide flavor bans.
Strict E-Cig Laws Punish Marginalized
Strict ecig laws punish marginalized groups most severely. It is ironic that the first of these laws was a San Francisco e-cig ban which punished marginalized residents. The city has a reputation for embracing harm reduction strategies to deal with IV drug usage. Safe injection sites are in the works and needle exchanges are providing millions of clean “rigs” to users. They have betrayed this humane tradition with their ecig ban.
Only in 2019 can a city like San Francisco, long viewed as bastion of LGBTQ+ rights, lead the charge against cigarette alternatives. Smoking and vaping are most prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community. A CDC study found 20.3 percent of adults who identify as gay, lesbian, or bi-sexual smoke cigarettes. The rate for the nation as a whole is 14 percent.
Bisexual women are more than twice as likely to smoke as heterosexual women. As a whole, the LGBT population in the US is three times more likely to use ecigs: 7.5 percent versus 2.6 percent. No other demographic cohort vapes as much.
Rural Americans also suffer under ecig bans, which is why Iowa AG Thomas Miller blasted last year’s FDA regulations. Access to cigarette alternatives could potentially exacerbate the already statistically worse health outcomes that face rural smokers.
The CDC reports that African American who smoke consume fewer cigarettes on average. They also report more quit attempts and less success at quitting than their White and Hispanic counterparts.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health conducted a study into racial and ethnic differences among e-cigarette users. They found that African Americans were more likely to embrace e-cigarettes as a cessation aid than Whites and Hispanics. They were also statistically more inclined to avoid dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
This study was wed to outmoded view that ecigs and cigarettes are equivalent and any pontential embrace of vaping was a bad thing. But this calculus was shown to be bankrupt when vaping crushed nicotine replacement therapy in a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Why is Vaping the Target?
Why is nicotine vaping the target and not alcohol? According to the CDC, alcohol is a scourge that killed 4,300 minors in 2018 and sent over 100,000 to the emergency room.
Vaping is low-hanging fruit for regulators and politicians looking to score easy points. Smokers and especially vapers are not heavily represented in middle and upper income brackets, whereas drinking rates are highest among educated, high-income adults.
But it is not only marginalized groups that suffer, a study conducted by Dr. Farsalino that surveyed 69,000 adult vapers found that a majority of adult vapers prefer flavored vape juice. Interestingly, the initial New York flavor ban continued to allow the sales of mint and menthol vape juices. The most popular flavor with underage vapers is Juul Mint.