As The Federal Prohibition On Flavored Cartridges Goes Into Effect, We Review Exactly What The Ban Entails And How It Impacts Vapers Going Forward

Vaping has been under constant fire by lawmakers and anti-vaping activists following a series of injuries misattributed to vaping and misinformed concerns over youth access to vapor products. As states and municipalities throughout the United States have implemented various regulations against vaping, the Food and Drug Administration has enacted a federal ban on the sale and manufacture of flavored vapor cartridges.

Public health scholars, harm reduction experts, as well as members of the vaping industry and community, have condemned the ban, stating it could place public health at risk and potentially cause irreparable economic harm. Some anti-vaping activists have criticized the measure as not going far enough to prevent youth access to vaping.

The ban could impact public health by restricting access to vapor products, which in turn may force former smokers back to tobacco or risky black market options. Others worry the ban in its current form will cause economic damage by forcing vape shops to shutter, costing the economy thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

The narrow scope of the federal flavor ban has left many vapers uncertain about exactly what the ban entails and how it will impact them. In this article, we provide an overview of the ban and what it could mean for the future of vaping.

Federal Flavor Ban

On January 2nd, the Food and Drug Administration announced it had finalized enforcement policies on vaping, releasing guidance and recommendations for the industry. The policy prioritizes enforcement against all flavored vapor cartridges other than tobacco and menthol.

The current policy only impacts closed-system devices that utilize disposable cartridges, such as Juul and Vuze vaporizers. Users of open-system devices, refillable tank-based vaporizers such as box mods, are currently unaffected. Additionally, the restriction does not apply to closed-system all-in-one disposable e-cigarettes such as Blu or Puff Bars.

Going forward, companies that fail to cease the manufacture, distribution, and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridges may be subject to FDA enforcement action. Enforcement action may range from warning letters to civil money penalties, to outright no-tobacco-sale orders that prohibit retailers from selling tobacco products while the order is in effect.

Vapers are not at risk of any legal action from possessing flavored vapor cartridges, legally acquired or otherwise. FDA enforcement applies to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers only.

Facts About Vaping

Regardless of an ongoing war against vaping by anti-vaping evangelists and regulators alike, vaping has been repeatedly proven as both an effective smoking cessation aid and reduced harm alternative to tobacco. Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have long cautioned against the potential public health and economic ramifications of prohibitionist policies such as flavor bans.

In fact, in an article published in the journal Science, public health experts banded together to speak out against blanket bans on vaping. These respected scholars note there is currently no strong evidence that vaping is harmful. Making matters worse, bans on vaping risk forcing people back toward tobacco or even the black market.

Multiple studies have emerged, highlighting the potential of vaping in helping to aid smoking cessation. One such study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that vaping is more effective than conventional nicotine-replacement therapies (NRT) in aiding smoking cessation. Another study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the most effective form of smoking cessation, even more than traditional NRTs or going cold-turkey.

Not only has vaping been demonstrated to possibly be the most efficacious smoking cessation aid, but a myriad of studies have emanated noting the reduced harm it poses when compared to smoking. In fact, research from Public Health England and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center found that vaping is 95% and 93% safer than smoking, respectively.


The Federal Ban on flavored vaping cartridges represents the first step down a slippery slope of restrictive regulations that slowly strip our freedoms and liberties. Overblown concerns over youth access to vapor products shouldn’t serve as a catalyst for the potential public health and economic consequences that would result from prohibitionist policies.

There is still a much larger federal ban on vaping rapidly approaching on the horizon. Manufacturers in the United States have until May 12th to submit an application with the FDA reviewing their products as a smoking cessation device. If they don’t, they won’t be able to continue selling their products.

Members of the vaping industry and community must remain committed, pushing back against such regulations. Sustained civic engagement is one of the best ways to shift public perception and help secure the future of vaping.

What are your thoughts regarding the federal ban on flavored cartridges? What do you think the implications will be for the vaping industry and community going forward? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

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