combustible cigarettes, and that's just awful. It should be known by now that flavored eLiquids are being used everywhere by vapers in this country, and around the globe. According to a recent survey of self identified vapers revealed that 85% prefer flavored eLiquids, including 74% who prefer fruit flavors and 66% who prefer dessert or pastry flavors. Almost half, 49% of vapers regularly used candy, chocolate or other sweet-flavored eLiquids.
This survey wasn't taken by highschoolers, this was a survey of adult ex-smokers who had quit successfully by switching to vaping and who are currently enjoying these products to keep them from returning to cigarette smoking in the United States. While there were nearly 16,000 of these former smokers in the survey, the current US estimation is that there are at least 2.5 million adult vapers that have chosen vaping over the highly addictive and deadly tobacco-burning cigarettes. These former smokers are reliant upon flavored eLiquids, because the whole point of vaping is to get away from the taste of, and dependence on tobacco.
Massachusetts, California, New York and Washington, D.C., in an effort to address the manufactured problem of youth vaping, aka the vaping epidemic, are prepared to throw the nation’s 2.5 million former smokers who rely upon vaping under the bus by severely restricting the sale of eLiquids with their flavor bans.
The Board of Health in Somerville, Massachusetts has enacted laws that would either restrict the sale of flavored eLiquids to adult-only stores or straight up ban them completely. While eliminating or reducing access to flavored e-cigarettes may seem like a good idea to protect youth, what few policymakers are considering is that what they are actually doing is making it easier for youth to access real cigarettes.
Weirdly these proposed laws would only restrict the sale of menthol cigarettes, leaving entire shelves of non-menthol cigarettes unregulated and easily available. These are the very cigarettes that are the most prevalent among both youth and adult smokers. The irrationality of these rules becomes even more evident when you consider the effect of Somerville’s regulations: The Board of Health has decided that retail stores may not sell Newport cigarettes, but may continue to sell Marlboros.
These laws will result in thousands of ex-smokers returning to cigarette smoking because the vaping goods they rely upon are taken off the shelves, while combustible tobacco cigarettes get to stay. The absolute absurdity of these proposals is that they restrict the sale of eLiquids more severely than the sale of actual cigarettes, ya know the ones that are killing more than 400,000 Americans each year!
The actions of the Food and Drug Administration are even worse because it is restricting the sale of almost all electronic cigarettes to adult-only stores, but leaving tobacco cigarettes completely untouched. Why should it be easier for anyone to obtain a Marlboro than a cherry vape? And why make it so difficult for exsmokers to buy vaping products that leave them with no easier alternative than to resume smoking?
Public health laws, by definition, must have the effect of protecting the public’s health and saving lives. These flavor ban laws will actually harm the public’s health, because they regulate cigarette brands differently with no valid health justification. They will make it harder for ex-smokers to choose a less harmful option. By creating these barriers to a much less harmful product, these laws will force former smokers to return to cigarette smoking.
These lawmakers are doing a huge favor not for the public’s health, but for Marlboro, which is going to see a nice influx of sales in the ex-smoker market as all of its competition from vaping products and most of its competition from Newport is eliminated.