Flavored Vape Juice, Smokeless Tobacco And Menthol Cigarettes Face Total Ban

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Officials in a California community are considering a ban on all flavored vape juice, flavored smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes, which vaping advocates say will be destructive to public health.

The Oroville City Council is currently debating the proposal, which will make it illegal for any vape shops or convenience stores to sell anything other than products carrying tobacco flavor. Small business owners who exclusively sell vapor products say they will have to close their doors if the ordinance is approved, cutting off access to the products for former smokers relying on the devices, reports Action News Now.

The Oroville Planning Commission is holding a public hearing Feb. 22 to hear what residents think of the proposed ban.

“I have seen hundreds of people be able to quit smoking, down to zero nicotine on e-juice, it’s a miracle,” Terri Turner, who owns Blaze N Jay’s, a smoke shop in the area, told Action News Now. “To take it away from people and our businesses, I don’t think a city has a right to do that. It’s a personal choice.”

Turner is circulating a petition aimed at putting the measure to a public vote, rather than leaving it in the hands of the council.

Researchers from the Yale School of Public Health and the Centre for Health Policy at the Imperial College in London published a study in September investigating the impact flavor restrictions may have on e-cigarette use. The scientists found that a ban on e-cigarette flavors in the U.S. would reduce the use of vaping devices by more than 10 percent.

If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is currently investigating the effects of flavors on youths, adopted a restrictive policy on flavors the researchers fear vapers will turn back to combustible cigarettes, that they note carry far more risk to the user. The sale of flavored cigarettes is banned at the federal level; however, the regulations exclude menthol products.

Advocates of e-cigarettes note that flavored vaping products are key to helping smokers dissociate with the taste of tobacco and ultimately quit. Public health experts agree that efforts to reduce tobacco use are admirable; however, they argue those efforts are bolstered, not undermined, by vaping devices.

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Steve Birr

Vice Reporter

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