Vaping Ban Update: What You Need to Know Now
As a “reefer madness” style panic over vaping grips the country, the VV team has created this page to provide updates on the Vape Ban of 2019. On this page we will keep news about the ban current so you can keep on top of the law.
Vape Ban: December 8 – December 14, 2019
On Tuesday, December 10, the FDA called a lawsuit filed by the Vapor Technology Association a “collateral attack,” asking a court to dismiss it. The lawsuit itself asks the court to strike down a 10-month deadline the FDA previously set for e-cigarette companies.
December 10 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FDA can regulate e-cigarettes just like tobacco products. The ruling did not extend to whether the products are more or less safe, or whether companies can advertise, or how. Now, though, vape companies like JUUL will follow the same kinds of strict regulations that Big Tobacco companies follow.
More confirmation of black market products being to blame for minors accessing THC came Tuesday, December 10. A Fresno, California man was arrested for selling THC products, including vape pods, to minors via social media.
On Wednesday, December 11, Boulder County, Colorado became the first local government in the state to sue JUUL labs. In doing so Colorado joins New York and other states in attacking JUUL, which holds almost 75 percent of the US e-cigarette market share.
This Thursday, December 12 the Massachusetts vape ban is set to expire unless lawmakers act.
Also on Thursday, two GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced regulatory framework for medical marijuana in the state. Although the bill faces long odds and probably will not pass, this latest move is a real sign of lawmakers trying to reach consensus on an issue that matters to voters.
Meanwhile, as the vape crisis rages on and the FDA prepares to regulate not just e-cigarettes but also CBD, Dollar General stores in Alabama prepare to carry CBD products.
As of Thursday, December 12, Colorado State Senator Rhonda Fields, an Aurora Democrat, backed off her vape ban position as explained to Colorado Public Radio in November. Instead, she and other Colorado democrats are now listening to voters, and no longer intend to support banning flavors.
More reasonable reporting in Newsweek on the 12th highlights a report from Science. In it, researchers argue that “evidence warns against prohibitionist measures” such as vape bans which do more harm than good.
That didn’t stop the Illinois Attorney General from joining the JUUL lawsuit on Thursday. Also that day, a Georgia lawmaker “predicted” restrictions on e-cigarettes to come, and a Kentucky lawmaker has proposed a vape ban in that state.
Meanwhile, although New York’s flavor ban is still held up in court, it has renewed its efforts to push the vape ban through, with lawmakers considering adding menthol to its list. The New York vape ban was extended for 90 days on December 12, and New York Governor Cuomo also wants insurance companies to cover the costs of e-cigarette cessation just as they for traditional smoking cessation.
More international vape ban developments: South Korean officials have linked some e-cigarette ingredients, specifically Vitamin E acetate discovered in e-liquids, to illness. The Vitamin E acetate was found in JUUL products and others that supposedly do not use it, so this may be an ongoing black market issue.
Finally, also on Thursday, December 12, the Massachusetts vape ban was lifted from cannabis stores–for now. Where to buy vaping products in Massachusetts is still confusing for now, at least from online.
Meanwhile, happy Friday! As of December 13, cannabis is legal in Maine and businesses are taking applications. How this will affect ban movement remains to be seen.
Also as of Friday, the Montana vape ban is being challenged in court, but for now it still stands. This means for now vaping is illegal in Montana and officials will enforce that.
Vape Ban: December 1 – December 7, 2019
As of Monday, December 2, at least one Kentucky school district joins the lawsuit against JUUL. The district also plans to sue at least one other e-cigarette company. More than 12 school districts around the country have joined the lawsuit, including some of the largest.
Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, December 3, JUUL officially can’t cut a break and has been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit, filed by former employees, is just the latest legal hurdle for the company.
On Wednesday, the State of Minnesota sued JUUL for unlawfully targeting youth with its ads. Also on Wednesday I saw reports of insurance rates for e-cigarette users climbing.
As of Wednesday the American Lung Association has taken up a new slogan: Quit, Don’t Switch. This is, of course, very useful to smokers, because none of us ever considered just quitting. Thanks, ALA.
Thursday, December 5 saw officials in the city of Los Angeles gather to discuss an e-cigarette ban.
That same day, the CDC released data on youth vaping for 2019: about 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 10 junior high school students are currently vaping in the United States. This is already illegal.
On December 5, CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo stated publicly that he saw a “Hello Kitty” logo on a vaping device years ago. He also stated that he “knew” then that something was wrong. (Like the people who have never heard of whipped cream vodka, he has apparently never driven behind the army of Hello Kitty decal cars driven by grown women around here.)
By December 7, the CDC released a list of 152 products that have caused EVALI. According to the CDC: Dank vapes were involved in 56 percent of cases, followed by TKO products in 15 percent, Smart Cart in 13 percent, and Rove in 12 percent. There were also some regional differences. In short, no one brand is to blame.
Experts still believe that additives are to blame, and now say that the worst of the outbreak may now be over. (This has not stopped the CDC from warning the public that none of *these* products are safe–and that no *tobacco* products are safe generally. See the problem here?)
Vape Ban: Week of November 22 – November 30, 2019
Happy whatever you may celebrate, if you do…and if you can still vape legally, be grateful.
Friday, November 22 saw the planned listening session on vaping take place at the White House. During the session Trump announced that he would set a minimum age of 21 for vaping. He also anchored his 180 on vaping in the fact that banning popular flavors can lead to more black market problems.
Also on Friday, the state of Michigan banned all THC vape products. The state also banned the use of vitamin E acetate in any vape products.
Critics argue that the meeting was heavily populated by anti-vaping advocates, Mitt Romney among them.
On Wednesday, November 26, Massachusetts told the entire nation to hold its beer, enacting the strictest vape ban yet. The law bans all flavors, including menthol traditional cigarettes. It also places a 75 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes.
Also on Wednesday, Brevard County, Florida joined the JUUL lawsuit.
Vape Ban: Week of November 15 – November 21, 2019
New weekend, new vape ban stuff. Super. I’m feeling really grateful.
On Friday, November 15, New Jersey state lawmakers advanced their statewide ban of all e-cigarette flavors. The New Jersey “vape ban” is really more of a general flavor ban, as it applies to traditional menthol cigarettes, too.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Supreme Court kept that state’s vape ban in place.
Following Thursday’s ban of vitamin E acetate in all THC products in the state of Ohio, on Friday medical marijuana businesses in the state have issued reassurances to patients that products are safe.
As of Friday, the Trump Administration is “reconsidering” the vape ban based on the impact such a move would have on “jobs.”
And if you noticed that your iPhone’s vape app stopped working today, you’re not alone. Apple removed all vaping and e-cigarette apps from the App Store today. In their public statement on the move, Apple cited health officials that call EVALI a “public health crisis” and simply stated, “We agree.”
And, surprise! Sunday, November 17, the Trump Administration reversed course on its vape ban. Reportedly, President Trump is indeed concerned that angry vapers will vote against him should he back such a ban.
Monday, November 18 we learned that the House would be approaching a vote on decriminalizing cannabis. That’s a long way from reality still, but the “vaping crisis” has managed to light a few fires, it appears.
Forbes reported on the poll that is allegedly the reason the Trump Administration reversed its position on the vape ban. If accurate, the idea of the “vaper vote” being a pressure point is working.
On Tuesday, a House committee approved a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco, including vaping products. The House vape ban is more aggressive than the Trump Administration’s formerly proposed vape ban. The measure would set a buying age of 21 nationwide, ban all flavored tobacco products, and ban online sales.
The same day, the American Medical Association (AMA) called for a total ban on all e-cigarettes and vaping products. Presumably this would include all THC vaping products as well.
A conservative women’s group continued to pressure President Trump to revisit his vape ban idea. Oddly, pressure also came at Trump from Brutal dictator Duterte of the Philippines, who argued that he will ban e-cigarettes and arrest vapers. Trump has praised Duterte’s drug war tactics in the past.
On Tuesday Michigan issued its first recreational marijuana licenses, ushering in a new era in the state. Also that day Michigan banned all vape products containing vitamin E acetate.
And CNN reports that as of Tuesday JUUL has been hit with at least five additional lawsuits. Among those is the school district suit which both the legally influential states of California and New York have joined.
Wednesday, November 20, Philadelphia’s vape age restriction moved forward. The law would make the vaping age in the city 21.
Also on the 20th, the Trump Administration announced a meeting with both vaping advocates and those who want the vape ban.
Meanwhile, Senators grilled Trump’s pick for FDA commissioner about vaping. Stephen Hahn of the MD Anderson Cancer Center has promised “aggressive action” but has not committed to the vape ban.
On Thursday, Quebec banned cannabis vape products for the time being.
Vape Ban: Week of November 8 – November 14, 2019
On Friday, November 8 the CDC announced it had made a “breakthrough” in the EVALI saga. Now the CDC claims that ALL cases are linked to Vitamin E acetate in the vaped products.
Also this week, doctors now have a clinical guide to treating people with the vaping sickness or EVALI. The researchers released the best practices to the public. Typical treatment involves steroid medication and close monitoring in most cases.
Doctors in New York created an algorithm designed to identify and treat EVALI. Basically, it will simply help them use the clinical signs more easily to diagnose.
The CDC has released key facts about Vitamin E acetate for the public. The agency also confirmed that as of November 5, there were 2,051 cases and 39 fatalities from EVALI reported to CDC from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory.
On Saturday, November 9, vapers gathered in Washington DC to deliver a simple message: we vape and we vote. Find the website here. Unhappy about bans around the country, this new single-issue voting block may cause problems for various elected officials, including the President.
On Monday, November 11, researchers reported on the case of a 16-year-old patient with “life-threatening” lung inflammation. This case is not related to EVALI, the “vaping illness,” but instead a kind of extreme immune response to something in the e-liquid. The researchers conclude that: doctors should consider a reaction to e-cigarettes when treating atypical respiratory illness and that it’s risky to assume e-cigarettes are “much safer than tobacco.”
Also on November 11, doctors performed the first double lung transplant necessitated by vaping related lung damage. The patient is 17 years old. That same day, Colorado banned the use of vitamin E acetate by the state’s medical marijuana industry. Michigan lawmakers are urging the same step.
Now that flavor bans are popular, lawmakers are still on the fence about menthol. Some organizations are saying menthol should also be banned.
Monday November 11 also saw President Trump announce a meeting with “vaping industry” representatives and others. However, it’s not clear who will attend. On November 12, President Trump announced his support for raising the age for buying e-cigarettes to 21.
Also as of November 12, ALL vaping products, including medical marijuana vaping products, are quarantined in Massachusetts until further notice. This is reportedly due to a lack of testing protocols for vitamin E and “other potential ingredients of concern.”
Then came Wednesday, November 13. On that day:
- In an unusual turn during bans popping up all over, the highest court in Mexico ruled that e-cigarettes should be allowed to be sold in the country just as traditional cigarettes are.
- An ad campaign from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Truth Initiative aimed directly at President Trump launched. The campaign urges Trump to ban all e-cigarette flavors, including menthol and mint. This no doubt has to do with the administration’s perceived wavering on the issue and the FDA’s lack of a final answer.
- A West Virginia state senator has asked the state’s governor to ban all flavored e-cigarette products. The request also asks the governor to declare a public health emergency.
- The state of New York raised the age for buying all tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21.
- NBC reports that more vapers are making their own vape juice–no surprise as more bans pop up. In the same article, they report that this can be dangerous. Maybe bans are dangerous, too.
- Vitamin E acetate was found in some samples taken from THC vape products in Massachusetts.
- The San Diego Unified School District voted to join the lawsuit suing Juul Labs.
- The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer issued a policy statement that “strongly discourages” vaping e-cigarettes by anyone who does not already smoke. (In other words, they won’t go so far as to suggest something that will push people back to regular cigarettes.)
So THAT was a day in vape ban land.
On Thursday, November 14, preliminary reports from Belgium suggest the country may have had its first vaping-related death. However, local doctors caution that the cause of the vaper’s death is as yet unknown.
Also on Thursday, Ohio banned vitamin E acetate from THC vape products. In New Jersey, lawmakers in both houses are considering legislation that would ban all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol. A judge in Washington denied a temporary restraining order Friday, leaving the state’s flavored e-cigarette ban in place.
However, an Oregon court temporarily blocked the state’s ban on flavored cannabis vapes on Thursday. Last month the court stopped a similar ban on e-cigarette flavors.
Vape Ban: Week of November 1 – November 7, 2019
Yes, I’ve been dreading updating this page. But you know, site ladies are gonna site lady. So here we go.
On Friday, November 1, China called on online sellers of e-cigarette products to shut down. The intent behind the move is to curb online ordering of vape products by teens.
On Monday, November 4, the American Lung Association lambasted Ohio’s vape ban, calling it “meaningless.” The ALA’s position is that there are loopholes in the ban.
Also on Monday, West Virginia authorities made progress tracking down black market THC products laced with heroin. These products were responsible for several illnesses in the state.
On Tuesday, November 5, research revealed that teen vapers prefer mint above all other flavors. This finding complicates the vape ban discussion, because until now mint and menthol were possible exceptions to most proposed flavor bans.
Also on November 5, a Massachusetts judge ruled that the state’s vape ban did not apply to medical marijuana patients.
Seattle school districts joined the lawsuit against Juul this week. This is the largest school district to date to join the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, November 6, health officials in the EU issued an advisory against mixing vape liquids. This advisory is based on the current outbreak of EVALI here in the US.
A similar advisory was issued by American health researchers on the same day. In essence, however, the American advisory simply says that vaping is “not worth the risk” since the risks are unknown. Clever.
Also on November 6, San Francisco voters upheld the citywide vape ban.
Seeing the writing on the wall, Juul halted even sales of mint products in the US on November 7. The company makes the move in light of the research discussed above, and probably anticipating a federal ban.
The Trump administration’s ban on all flavors but tobacco, or possibly tobacco and menthol, is imminent. On November 6, administration officials announced that they would make the full details of the policy public soon.
Vape Ban: Ongoing Developments October 2019
It’s been a busy time in vape ban territory.
On Monday, the Illinois state legislature will take up a ban of all e-cigarette flavors.
A Utah judge has also temporarily blocked the state’s vape ban. The court rejected the ban saying it presented no evidence to support it.
Back in Wisconsin, the case of the Huffhines brothers, who have been charged with a massive black market THC operation, is growing. Now four of the five people charged in the case have pled not guilty, and the case is moving forward.
Tuesday, more than 50 groups, from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American Heart Association, signed onto a letter to the Trump Administration. The letter is insisting the administration stick to a total flavored vape ban, and not make exceptions even for menthol or mint flavors.
Wednesday, Texas state legislators announced they would consider the legality of vaping.
As of Thursday, October 31, 2019, the CDC confirmed 1,888 lung injury cases nationwide that are connected to vaping. There have also been 37 deaths in 24 states. Alaska remains the only state without any cases.
Vape Ban: Week of October 14 – October 20, 2019
Bowing to pressure (and now we know why), Juul has announced that it will stop selling all e-cigarette flavors in the US except tobacco, mint, and menthol. The company plans to keep that policy in place “unless and until” the FDA approves each flavor.
On Friday, October 18, a judge blocked Montana’s flavored vape ban. The temporary injunction will stop the ban for 120 days.
As of Thursday, October 17, there were vaping related fatalities in every US state except Alaska–1,479 total.
On Wednesday, CDC official Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat corrected the idea that the “vaping crisis” is linked to legal, state-run cannabis shops. She instead emphasized the fact that most illnesses appear to be linked to black market products.
Also on Wednesday, Florida’s Attorney General announced an investigation of more than 20 e-cigarette companies. Meanwhile, an Oregon court has temporarily blocked the state’s ban on flavors. Cannabis producers in Ohio are hoping to get ahead of this issue by pledging to list ingredients.
Tuesday some vape shops in Michigan are celebrating as a judge has temporarily blocked the state’s vape ban. The court found that there is evidence that if vaping is banned, people in Michigan will go back to smoking–go figure.
In an unexpected display of logic, regulators in Colorado are expected to ban only certain vape additives this week. Those additives, which can be used as thinning agents and may be harmful, include Vitamin E Acetate, Polyethylene glycol (PG), and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT oil).
The hearing on the proposed Colorado ban happens Tuesday, October 15. The discussion over MCT oil is likely to be lively, as this is in many CBD and THC products.
Vape Ban: Week of October 7 – October 13, 2019
As of Tuesday, October 8, Montana joins the list of states with bans of flavored vapes. Montana’s ban is reportedly temporary as are some others.
On Tuesday New York City also filed a federal lawsuit against 22 online e-cigarette companies. The city’s argument is that these companies targeted young people with sweet flavors and created a public nuisance.
Also, a Los Angeles city councilman has proposed a vape ban throughout the city.
On the other hand, it still seems likely that the Senate will consider some form of cannabis banking legislation.
Also on Monday, FLOTUS Melania Trump called for an end to marketing of e-cigarette products to youth. (This is already illegal, to be clear.)
The Heartland Institute published research and commentary indicating that a flavor ban does not actually address the recent illnesses, is unlikely to impact youth vaping, and will decimate small vaping businesses.
Meanwhile, on Monday Massachusetts reported its first death linked to vaping. In Minnesota, two medical patients have acquired the illness, but it is not clear whether vaping is the only cause of the problem.
A study by a lab in Colorado claims that what connects all of these illnesses is cheap metals in welds. We are watching to see if this is replicated anywhere else.
Finally, on Monday the State of Washington clarified that its flavor ban extends only to flavors like “mango” or “cream,” but not tobacco or cannabis related flavors like terpenes. Your Pink Panties are safe for now.
Vape Ban: Weekend of October 4 – 6, 2019
Well, let’s hope it’s a quiet one. For now, though:
Oregon’s governor has indeed banned flavored e-cigarettes. This comes despite an acknowledgement that most trouble seems to be caused by black market cannabis products.
Vape Ban: Week of September 30 – October 4, 2019
As of October 1, Ohio has joined the fray, with Governor Mike DeWine calling for a statewide vaping ban on all flavored e-cigarettes. The ban would not cover tobacco flavored products.
Meanwhile, officials in North Carolina are blaming an outbreak in “lipoid pneumonia” on vaping, although other experts have said that the current crisis is both distinct from classical lipoid pneumonia and not linked to regular e-cigarettes.
October 3 was a busy day.
New Mexico took a more measured approach to the possible vaping injury issue on Thursday. In NM, vaping products will now have warning labels on them, at least until the issue is resolved. Florida is considering another more cautious fix: raising the vaping age to 21.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds called the vaping issue “alarming” on October 3. Although there is not yet a vape ban in Iowa…wait for it. Legislation is coming in Georgia in 2020, we also learned on the 3rd.
On Thursday the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began a formal investigation into the vaping industry’s advertising practices. This includes Juul, but also many other companies. Also that day, UK tobacco company Imperial Brands CEO Alison Cooper stepped down amidst the “backlash.”
The state of Arkansas has also joined several California cases against Juul. The cases are being consolidated in the courts. We can probably expect to see other cases and other states get involved in this over time.
Speaking of the courts, a New York court Thursday blocked the state’s vape ban from going into effect with less than one day to spare. However, state health officials seem confident that the vape ban will move forward after the scheduled hearing on October 18.
Meanwhile, protestors in Massachusetts took to the streets Thursday to protest their state’s ban. This morning, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy added his voice to the panic, calling for a ban on e-cigarette flavors.
Vape Ban: Weekend of September 27-29, 2019
The State of Washington has now joined Michigan, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts in a flavored vape ban.
Georgia and Florida have seen their first deaths attributed to the “vaping illness.” Alabama also has a new case. This brings the total number of deaths to 12.
A state judge in New York has denied a request to delay the imposition of a statewide vaping ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Although the ban itself is only for 90 days and is supposedly in place for emergency regulations, it may be extended. New York has also added menthol to its ban.
However, black market THC vape products have been found across Nassau County, New York, highlighting the futility of the vape ban. (No surprise, given that at least one black market company that officials have connected to the illness is verified on Instagram. As lawmakers focus on what we the consumers are doing, they seem to be overlooking these kinds of things.)
This week a survey undercut the hype behind the ban: youth safety. Although youth vaping rates are up, youth smoking rates are down. Given that smoking is a proven killer, this seems to imply that teens are safer than before.
Finally, as health officials at the CDC continue to say vaping THC is unsafe, officials elsewhere have a different message. State level officials in places like Pennsylvania reassure consumers that products are safe, as does the scientific and health community outside the US.
Vape Ban: Week ending September 20, 2019
Now, here are the most recent vape ban developments.
On Friday, September 20, four US Senators sent a letter to the US FDA demanding that all cartridge- and pod-based e-cigarettes be banned from the market. The products would stay off the market until companies could prove they were safe.
The bipartisan group includes Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
(Meanwhile in the House, a federal safe harbor banking bill for legal cannabis businesses will be put to a vote this week. Apparently vape ban 2019 is not controlling everything yet.)
Also on September 20, Walmart announced that it will stop selling vape products. The retailer will no longer stock the products at Walmart or Sam’s Club after current inventory runs out.
Monday, September 23, officials in Kansas announced a second vaping illness death. We are watching the state for vape ban developments.
Of course, few alarmists are missing a chance to warn the public. The version we saw on Monday was this: a medical expert cautioning that people who vape are more susceptible to the flu because they have “blunted” their immune systems.
As of Tuesday, September 24, Massachusetts enacted the strictest statewide vape ban yet. For the next four months, ALL vape products will be banned in Massachusetts.
Also, a Washington state man is suing six cannabis firms, claiming their products gave him the vaping illness. It was only a matter of time; here come the lawsuits.
On Wednesday, September 25, New York and Connecticut governors met to consider legalization in both states. The meeting and movement was prompted by a recognition that the current outbreak has at least as much to do with regulation as with vaping.
The FDA told Congress that e-cigarettes “are not safe” today as well–although they have been on the market for 10 years. The commissioner also confirmed that their policy on vapes will be coming in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island joined Michigan and Massachusetts in a statewide vaping ban. The vape ban does not apply to cannabis or unflavored tobacco products and is allegedly aimed to prevent youth vaping.
As the (not so) great vape scare continues, experts watch the CBD scene for impact. Specifically, they are concerned that new attention to what’s in CBD products—which is probably a good thing—may bring a maelstrom of regulations, many of them harmful.