November 30, 2018

California Lawmakers Will Introduce a Statewide Flavor Ban

When San Francisco voters upheld that city’s ban on flavored vapor and tobacco products in June, supporters of the new law predicted it would spark a prohibition trend, and they were right. More than two dozen California municipalities have enacted some sort of flavored tobacco ban, and now the bandwagon is getting full and rolling downhill fast.

Six California state legislators will introduce a bill next week that would ban all retail sales of flavored e-liquid and other vaping products statewide. The bill will also prohibit sales of menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, dissolvable tobacco, and “tobacco edibles.”

The law does not exempt vape shops, even though they’re already prohibited from selling to anyone under 21. If passed, it will put every vape shop in California out of business — even though FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that vape shop sales to minors are not a serious problem.

The bill also imposes strict rules for online sales, including a requirement for an adult signature at delivery, and the statement “CONTAINS TOBACCO PRODUCTS: SIGNATURE OF PERSON 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER REQUIRED FOR DELIVERY” printed “conspicuously” on the package.

The bill will be introduced by Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill, and is supported by four other Democratic senators, and Democratic Assembly member Kevin McCarty. Hill, a former assembly member and onetime mayor of San Mateo, represents the 13th Senate District, which includes San Francisco.

Hill says the bill is a response to Commissioner Gottlieb’s warnings of a teenage vaping “epidemic.” Gottlieb has cited preliminary data from the CDC National Youth Tobacco Survey that show a 77 percent increase this year in past-30-day use of e-cigarettes among high school students. Gottlieb used the data as a pretense for a ban of some flavored vaping products in retail outlets without age restrictions for entrance.

“We must stop the appalling epidemic of e-cigarette use by youths,” Senator Hill said Thursday. “Enticed by fruit, candy and other appealing flavors, high school and middle school students throughout the U.S. are vaping in record numbers. The surge has reversed the decline in underage use of all tobacco products.”

California is the country’s most populous state, and it counts on cigarette taxes and Master Settlement Agreement payments (determined by the number of cigarettes sold) to pay for many state programs. The state has increased cigarette taxes substantially, but never gets around to proposing a ban on the deadliest tobacco product.

It’s bandwagon time, and if it isn’t stopped now it’ll roll right across the country.

Tobacco edibles — whatever they are — will be banned, but apparently the lawmakers aren’t concerned with flavored cannabis edibles, even though the CDC says more high school kids use marijuana than vape nicotine. And cannabis products aren’t just flavored like candy. They are candy.

A quick glance at the menu of one Los Angeles cannabis dispensary showed a dizzying selection of fruit- and chocolate-flavored gummies, cookies, pretzels, brownies, oatmeal bars, creamsicles, fruit chews, caramels, chocolate bars, toffee, popcorn, mints, tinctures, and soft drinks. The small shop offers 89 edible cannabis products for sale. Surely if flavored vapor products are created to target kids, actual candy products are too?

Every politician who wants an easy issue to flog is grabbing hold of vape flavors. The FDA is already working on its own flavor rules, but no one wants to wait for the feds when they can score political points now. After all, vapers are a tiny minority, and not much of a political threat.

Most people view vapers the same way they do smokers, especially in wealthy, healthy California. Throw in a ginned-up epidemic that’s really just a huge moral panic, and you have a recipe for rampant flavor bans. It’s bandwagon time, and if it isn’t stopped now it’ll roll right across the country.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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Look at all these under age children getting a hold on regular cigeretts all these years that we’re under age and they still do millions of them. Are they going to get rid of cigeretts all together for to not let under age smoking? Probably not in my lifetime and I am almost 48 years old and I was a two a pack a day smoker for over 20 years .I got introduced to e-cigeretts like about 3 and half years ago and let me tell you, I have asthma and copy because of them using my rescue inhaler several times a day now that I switched over to e-cigeretres I might use my inhaler once every three days and just once on that day and since switching I am bfething better have more energy and my witnesses stopped clogging up on at night while trying to lay down a to go to sleep for the night and it kept me up because I cold not breath. So I lost a lot of sleep over the years which I was always in a bad mood very sleepy which would knock me out in the afternoon and I would only get about and hour or so sleep and then it came for bed time at night I would then to have another reason that I couldn’t fall asleep. Plus these under age kids can still easlie get e-cigerettes and products through the internet real easy by just clicking on the I am 21 button and have a cridet card which most teenagers have and get these products without any adult to find out about it…


I think it would be a great idea for this site to start posting contact information for representatives in the areas that these stories are taking place in.

In light of the recent FDA regulations being passed, I personally wrote a letter to Comissioner Gottlieb and my own House member expressing my concerns about overregulation. It may prove to be ineffective in the end, but we’ll never know if we don’t try!

Jim McDonald

Not a bad idea! Of course, when something is actually introduced and advocates have a solid idea if it might go anywhere, CASAA will issue a call to action with direct links to legislators. But you’re right that there’s nothing preventing vapers from contacting their elected officials at any time regarding laws. Thanks for the suggestion, and for trying to make a difference yourself.


Well.. as usual we have a bunch of misinformed politicians looking for an agenda. On top of which “Studies” that show conflicting data or improper research. Heck… no one can even agree whether or not Nicotine is even addicting or if the addiction comes from another substance. Or if the source of type of Nicotine determines addiction. And you can go Clould chasing Without Nicotine in your Vapes. Anybody even ask these kids in their studies what Level of Nic they use?

I say that because coming from another direction than former smoker. Yes, I’ve been Vaping for over 10 years…at 0 . It started because I was trying to get my sister to quit tobacco ( 2 pack day) and it was a case of her being a “monkey see, monkey do “mentality. And it worked . I stayed because my family borderline diabetic and suddenly instead of grabbing the ice cream I grabbed my vape. So I’m just using it occasionally throughout the day. So sometimes devices meant for one segment slides into other uses. I know several Diabetics using them and it helps. Same for weight loss. And even Asthmatics I understand are gaining benefits as findings suggest maybe safer than inhalers. All liquids 0 nic of course. Unfortunately also use to dispense cannabis which seems to be the concern about underage vaping out where I live. Meanwhile kids literally dying from overdoses of Energy drinks. Owned by Big Cola companies. Problem is that vapers always getting Bad Press. Exploding mods, underage use, toxins. That is what is making headlines. And unfortunately the Public swallowing it whole.


If someone would care to research something…

There is a clear difference between the nicotine used in those refillable tanks that blow large clouds that smell good and the nicotine used in the Juul. Salt an acid chemical that binds to the nicotine and creates an addiction, oh and 50 milligrams per pod is insane. (Juul didn’t become a 15 billion dollar company by helping people quit smoking. They created repeat customers)

The small grass roots movement in vaping was meant to start at about 12 and wean down to 0.

Sadly salt nicotine style of vaping is being lumped into all the vapor products on the market and no one is talking about it.

I picked up a juul myself and it as uncomfortable to put it down and wean myself off it as it was when I quit smoking using traditional vaping 4 years ago.

I agree nicotine is about as addicting as caffeine. But mixed with a binding agent it is built for repeat customers.

When mommy and daddy find and take their juuls away. What is going to replace that… cigarettes. Sadly salt nicotine products are a gateway to smoking for all ages.

This is not true of low nicotine products that don’t have added chemicals.

Research that!

In addition flavors dont hook people of any age. Cigarettes taste bad, it’s the chemicals in both cigarettes and the salt nicotine products.

Jim McDonald

Jeremy beat me to the punch on most of your points. I’ll add one more: I think if JUUL had been around in 2009, there would be many millions fewer smokers now, and vaping would be in a much more secure position.

Early vaping products were mostly not effective for *most* smokers. Was there a hard core of people (on ECF, etc.) who worked hard to improve the products? Yes, and they did. But having a very effective small device without much of a learning curve would have been a godsend for smokers — and it still is.

As Jeremy points out, early vapers used high nic concentrations. I don’t know where you got the idea that vaping is “meant” to start at 12 mg/ml and wean to lower levels, but it’s simply not true. When I started in 2012, the majority of vapers used 18 or 24 mg/ml e-liquid. It wasn’t until the advent of DTL/sub-ohm products that nic levels began to drop precipitously (but, of course, people vaped MORE and would end up consuming the same amount of nic), and now with the rise of new MTL products like pods, they’re climbing again. Nic users self-titrate; they get the nicotine they crave one way or the other.

I appreciate your defense of independent e-liquid makers. We love them too. But vapers blaming all of our problems on one segment of the vaping industry or another is a problem in itself. There’s nothing wrong with using nicotine or vaping — *whatever* kind of vaping you do. Let’s let everyone use the products they like, and cheer the fact that they’re not breathing smoke anymore.

Jeremy Mann

Hi, Vaping Advocate. Thanks for your comment. Respectfully though, I disagree with some of your assertions. For example:

1.) Nicotine salt e-liquid is more addictive than regular nicotine: False.

Benzoic acid that’s added to nicotine (to make it a “salt”) does not inherently make nicotine more addictive. That said, nicotine salt is smoother and more palatable, irrespective of the concentration (nic salt juice is sold in concentrations from 3 mg to above 50 mg). Try vaping regular nic at 50 mg! I’ve done it. It’s MUCH harsher than the JUUL! Make 50 mg nicotine less harsh and, sure, it will be easier to form a habit. But that’s because it’s a high concentration being used, not specifically because it’s nicotine salt. I love blowing clouds of Salty Man “7 Pound Up Cake” at 3 mg/mL of nicotine salt. It’s no more habit-forming than regular nic at that level.

2.) JUUL is for repeat customers and other vaping products are for weaning: False.

Even for vapers that reduce the nicotine concentration of their ejuice, they may not actually be weaning unless they totally give up nicotine. A study from three London universities showed that vapers that reduced nicotine levels in e-juice just vaped more often, thus maintaining the same intake as when they vaped higher concentrations.

Plus, plenty of nicotine replacement products have so-called “repeat customers.” A 2012 study found that out of 138 adults in Denmark that used NRTs, 66 of them used them daily (like gum) for up to or longer than 12 months (4x longer than the recommended timeframe of OTC NRT). No matter how you slice it, nicotine is habit forming for a lot of people, just like (as you said) caffeine.

3.) An imaginary teen hooked on the JUUL will start smoking without it: That’s unproven and illogical.

There are countless products in vaping with similar designs and nicotine formulas as the JUUL. Why bypass those and go for smoking? Plenty of teens use Red Bull for a caffeine jolt, but would they drink stale gas station coffee if Red Bull was taken away? I doubt that. More likely they’d just drink Monster. A similar product.

4.) The old days of vaping were for 12 mg and lower: Flat out false!

Pre-dating the JUUL, you could get e-juice in 24 mg to 36 mg fairly easily (check old ECF threads). Some vendors even sold juice as high as 45 mg. But most vapers couldn’t tolerate it because of how harsh it was (which is what nicotine salt solved: a way to get more nicotine without the harshness).

Finally, it’s my opinion that if a smoker stops smoking and begins using the JUUL, but then struggles to stop using the JUUL, I’d remind them that smoking is a known killer and many NRT products are hard to stop. As long as they’re keeping cigarettes at bay, it’s still a net win!


Leave it to California to cry epidemic where there isn’t one. This state is driving people out of the state in record numbers with its fascist leadership and its tax “everything into oblivion” mentality. California has a hard enough time keeping jobs and stimulating economic growth so now they are going to drive another industry out of the state.

They wanted everyone to stop smoking so they imposed taxes upon taxes to make it as difficult as possible for someone to keep buying cigarettes and they have made getting over-the-counter and prescription nicotine replacement therapy extremely expensive to obtain. Now, they will go after a virtually harmless way to quit smoking that isn’t too expensive. Makes total sense (note: sarcastic tone). California has some of the worst air quality in the country and they are worried about kids vaping. It just proves earthquakes just cause all the loose marbles to roll to the edges. I personally can’t wait to move out of this idiotic state.

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