Advertisement
Health

The Crackdown on Vape Flavors Could Happen Sooner Than You Think

Even if Trump's federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes never materializes, state and local lawmakers are passing restrictions at a rapid pace.

by Harron Walker
Sep 13 2019, 8:40pm

Photo by Getty Images/EyeEm

The Trump administration announced its intentions to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes at the federal level, but you might lose access to yon coveted mango Juul pods well before that depending on where you live. New Jersey could very well be the next state to prohibit the sale of flavored vape pods, as Gov. Phil Murphy launched a task force on Friday to get young people in the Garden State to stop vaping, Reuters reports, which could mean passing a ban.

States and municipalities throughout the United States have already begun to crack down on flavored vape pods in an effort to curb e-cigarette use among teens, more than a quarter of whom regularly do so, according to preliminary data released by the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday. To defend these prohibitive efforts, lawmakers often cite serious health concerns, like the six confirmed deaths and more than 450 potential cases of lung-related illness caused by vaping, per The Guardian.

A number of cities in California have suspended the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in brick-and-mortar stores. San Francisco was the first to do so in June, and two other Bay Area municipalities have since followed suit. Livermore banned vape flavors in July, though the future of that law will be put to a vote in March, and Richmond passed a similar ordinance on Tuesday, as The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

This month, Michigan became the first state to totally outlaw flavored e-cigarettes, and New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, proposed a similar course of action earlier this week.

“As of this moment, there is no safe vape,” Murphy said at a media briefing on Friday. “The only safe alternative to smoking is not smoking.”

Any ban on e-cigarettes, whether local or federal, would likely have an impact on the relatively unregulated industry’s $2.6 billion in annual sales, The New York Times predicts. But Juul alone operates in 19 countries worldwide, and the internet… exists. If someone in the U.S. can no longer buy their beloved mango pods in their neighborhood, they could always conceivably order some online—or stock up, doomsday prepper-style, like that guy I knew from college who used a full third of his bedroom to store his soon-to-be-banned Four Loko in 2010.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.

Follow Harron Walker on Twitter.