The FDA Hates Them! Vapers Discover Loophole In Federal Ban
“Cracks In Hastily-Created Legislation Immediately Begin To Show”
Just days after the implementation of the FDA’s federal ban on flavored vapor cartridges, vapers have already found and taken advantage of a loophole so they can continue purchasing preferred products. While the federal ban allowed for exemptions on menthol and tobacco cartridges, all other flavors were effectively banned on January 31st.
However, flavored vapor products such as vanilla, cherry, and banana, are continuing to be bought and sold legally as disposable e-cigarettes. Disposable e-cigarettes are different than reusable vaping devices with disposable pods explicitly targeted by the ban, allowing for the loophole.
Vapers who have not switched over to open-system devices have taken advantage of the situation, for the time being, allowing them to continue abstaining from tobacco. Anti-vaping activists have loudly decried the loophole, claiming that it continues to allow youth access to vapor products.
Multiple studies have emerged debunking claims of a teenage vaping epidemic, noting that a majority of teens do not vape and that those who do are not habitual users. This falls in line with sentiments echoed by harm-reduction experts and public-health scholars, who warn that blanket bans enacted by hysteria and not backed by data may be detrimental to public health by preventing access to a proven and effective smoking cessation device.
Federal Ban Bypass
In an effort to curb youth access amidst controversial claims of a so-called teenage epidemic, the United States Food and Drug Administration implemented a sweeping federal ban on flavored vapor cartridges. But only days after the new law had taken effect, big loopholes in the policy have already been discovered and are actively being exploited.
The FDA’s federal ban on flavored vapor cartridges specifically targets closed-system devices that use disposable pods, such as Juul and Vuse. This means that manufacturers of e-cigarettes, single-use disposable devices such as Blu and PuffBar, are exempt from the ban and legally able to continue selling various flavored offerings.
Vapers who do not want or have not yet switched over to vaporizers with refillable tanks have been taking advantage of the loophole while they can. This exemption allows them continued access to an effective smoking cessation device for the time being.
Anti-vaping activists have been vocal in their frustration with the loophole, complaining that the exemption may allow youth access to vapor products. “These disposable, completely self-contained e-cigarettes like Puff Bar and others share all of the characteristics that made Juul a problem,” said Kevin Schroth, professor at the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies.
Facts About Vaping
A study led by researchers from NYU School of Global Public Health found that most teens do not vape, and the few that do are not habitual users. The study, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found that over 85% of teens do not vape at all, and among the few that do, the majority are not daily users.
Harm reduction experts and public health scholars have long cautioned against the potential public health risks and ramifications of flavor bans and other forms of prohibitionist policy. In an article published in the journal Science, a group of renowned public health experts banded together to formally decry blanket bans on vaping, noting a lack of evidence of risk from vaping and the possibility of pushing people toward tobacco as well as the black market.
Despite the regulatory crackdown and misinformation surrounding vaping, there is extensive research noting vaping’s remarkable efficacy in helping aid smoking cessation. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was far more effective than traditional nicotine-replacement therapies in helping people quit smoking and remain tobacco-free.
Not only is there a wealth of data highlighting vaping’s efficacy as a smoking cessation device, but multiple studies have also demonstrated that e-cigarettes pose significantly less risk than cigarettes as well. 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 vapor cartridges was a legislative blunder hastily drafted to pacify hysteria, but it places public health at risk. President Trump himself has expressed regret over the vaping ban, telling Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, “I should never have done that vaping thing” during a campaign call in January.
Lawmakers are not only against public health but against the current scientific consensus surrounding vaping as well. Multiple studies, as well as a host of harm-reduction experts and public health scholars, have debunked claims of a teenage vaping epidemic while simultaneously noting the negative ramifications of prohibitionist policies.
Members of the vaping industry and community must continue to push back against such government overreach through the combination of a sustained information campaign online and peaceful assembly offline. Informative public discourse, as well as continued civic engagement, offer the best hope in shifting public perception and securing the future of vaping.
What are your thoughts regarding this loophole in the federal flavor ban? Do you believe it will be targeted by lawmakers 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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