Massachusetts Senate passes flavour ban
In response to the lack of federal regulations, the Massachusetts Senate has decided to enact its own vaping restrictions in an attempt to curb youth vaping in the state. Set to take effect in June 2020, these new regulations would ban all flavoured vaping products (except tobacco), limit nicotine content in e-liquids, and would impose a flavour ban on all vapor products.
According to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Keenan, “Our hope is that this bill will be a model for the rest of the country.” It’s impossible to know whether or not other states will follow suit, but tobacco control activists will definitely see the new law as a template for future regulations.
While the widely publicized asset forfeiture component of the bill has been removed, the bill still includes these provisions:
- Bans all flavoured vaping products except tobacco flavour, including flavours in separate packaging that could be used to create “flavour shots” and DIY e-juice (and including menthol cigarettes)
- Imposes a 75 percent wholesale tax on all e-liquid and vape devices
- Enacts a nicotine limit of 20 mg/mL on e-liquid
- Makes consumers liable for paying the tax for all products they possess without receipts that prove the tax has been paid
- Punishes possession of untaxed products with a fine up to $5,000 for the first offence, and $25,000 for further offences
While the bill does restrict the sale of certain products in the state, it does not affect Massachusetts manufacturers from selling products outside the state.
China’s vaping expansion alarms government
Despite being the hub for the majority of e-cigarette and vape manufacturing, China may join the U.S and other governments in placing restrictions and pressure on the vape industry. Chinese regulators have already banned online sales of vaping products, and major propaganda outlets have begun citing potential health effects of vaping. Furthermore, the Chinese government is considering a ban on vaping in public places.
Part of China’s new regulations surrounding vaping would focus on the manufacturing standards of e-cigarette companies. At the time of writing, China has over 9,500 e-cigarette companies, many of whom have haphazard quality controls and utilize untested ingredients. Alarmed by these reports, China is set to enforce producers to comply with standards on ingredients and manufacturing.
The state of California sues JUUL
Filed in California state court in Alameda County, this lawsuit alleges that JUUL carried out practices that endangered the lives of children, and that the company set in place a “flawed” age verification process. Within the suit, the state of California cited passages from a recent Reuters investigation, which found that after JUUL’s launch, the company disregarded evidence that their product was alluring to teens.
In response to the lawsuit, JUUL spokesman Austin Finan stated that the company has yet to review the complaint. According to Finan, “We remain focused on resetting the vapor category in the U.S. and earning the trust of society by working cooperatively with attorneys general, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders to combat underage use and convert adult smokers from combustible cigarettes.”