Industry News

U.S. bans on flavored vapes and online sales


U.S. bans on flavored vapes and online sales

The FDA has federal authority to regulate vaping products. In September 2020 the agency began reviewing Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs), and has signalled it will not authorize flavored products without extraordinary evidence. Whether the agency will be successful creating an unwritten standard that eliminates legal flavored products (except tobacco and menthol) may be determined by federal courts.

Most vape bans in the U.S. happen at the state and local levels. And while a few California cities—notably San Francisco—have banned sales of all vaping products, most American vape restrictions involve flavors and online sales. There are only a few of each, despite the large number of vaping bans that have been proposed in state legislatures in recent years—proof that grassroots opposition can stop bad legislation.

Arkansas – online sales ban
Tobacco permits issued to Arkansas businesses only allow face-to-face transactions, so online sales are prohibited

California – flavor ban (on hold until 2022)
The California Assembly passed (and the governor signed) a law banning all “flavored tobacco,” including vapes, in August 2020. However, after a massive signature-gathering campaign, the law is on hold until the state’s voters decide whether to approve it in a November 2022 referendum. The law, if it passes, will prohibit all vapes in flavors other than tobacco

Maine – online sales ban
Maine bans online sales, except between licensed businesses

Massachusetts – flavor ban
The first statewide flavor ban was passed in late 2019 by Massachusetts. It includes all tobacco products, and prohibits sales of all vape flavors except tobacco.

New Jersey – flavor ban
New Jersey’s ban covers all flavors except tobacco. Legislators decided not to ban menthol cigarettes after realizing how much tax revenue the state would lose. The governor signed the flavor ban and an increased tax on vaping products, but vetoed the attached 20 mg/mL nicotine-strength limit

New York – flavor ban + online sales ban
The New York flavor ban, which covers all flavors except tobacco, was passed in April 2020. The state also adopted an online sales ban (of all vaping products) at the same time

Oregon – online sales ban
Oregon bans online sales, except between licensed businesses

Rhode Island – flavor ban
In March 2020, then-governor Gina Raimondo bypassed the state legislature and used the Department of Health to create a permanent ban on all vape flavors except tobacco

South Dakota – online sales ban
Shipping of all tobacco products (including vapes) is prohibited in South Dakota

Utah – online sales ban
Utah bans online sales, except between licensed businesses

Vermont – online sales ban
Vermont bans online sales, except between licensed businesses

Major cities with flavor bans include Chicago, IL; Los Angeles (takes effect in 2023), San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland and San Jose, CA; and Boulder, CO. Hundreds of smaller cities and counties—mostly in California—have flavor bans, as do some larger cities whose bans have since been superseded by state bans (like New York City and Newark, NJ)

Complete bans on vaping product sales have been adopted by San Francisco and some smaller California cities
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