Are E-Cigs and Vapes Getting Banned in the US in 2021?
Vaping has taken the US market by storm. The rise in popularity was so swift that vape devices quickly became popular among the youth. This has presented a new problem for federal bodies and state governments — teen vaping. Many states had to introduce regulations and vape bans to prevent minors from accessing electronic nicotine products.
About 20% of US residents aged from 18 to 29 say that they vape occasionally or regularly. This can raise concerns given the fact that the legal vaping age starts at 21. So, are e-cigs getting banned because of this?
The short answer is “no.” But what is a vaping ban, and what products does it affect?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been raising awareness among vape manufacturers about marketing their devices to children since 2016. After the 2018 National Institutes of Health report showing peak teen vaping numbers, the federal government had to take more aggressive steps.
Starting in 2019, the FDA and multiple states have begun a full assault on vape companies whose products allegedly targeted minors. The regulations affect flavored vapes and e-juices, which are widely popular among children. They include fruity, candy-like, and menthol (mint) flavors.
Now, do you want to find out if flavored pods are illegal in your state? Good news! We can tell you everything you need to know about the vape ban — starting from its history in the US market!
Vaping Regulation in the US — Timeline
- 2006. Vaping devices are introduced to the US market.
- 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) clarifies it doesn’t consider vaporizers as a therapy for smokers who want to quit.
- 2009. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gains regulatory power over the tobacco industry. The Oregon Department of Justice issues the first nationwide ban for selling vaping devices at TA Operating and Pilot Travel Centers.
- 2010. FDA announces that vaping devices will be regulated as tobacco products. Oregon state issues a vape ban, claiming that the company, Smoking Everywhere, misled consumers about the safety of these devices.
- 2011. The Department of Transportation proposes making vaping illegal on planes.
- 2013. FDA is urged to take measures against companies advertising the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
- 2015. JUUL vapes debut on the US market. The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) prohibits over 19 companies from selling vape devices without nicotine exposure warnings.
- 2016. FDA warns several big vape retailers about selling and marketing devices with e-liquid to minors. The administration also finalizes regulation for pre-market review of e-cigarettes.
- 2018. The FDA inspects JUUL headquarters in San Francisco and publically talks about possible flavored vapor ban to reduce vaping among teens. All vapes are now required to include a warning about the dangers of nicotine.
- March 2019. FDA restricts selling flavored vapes at pharmacies, gas stations, and convenience stores across the country.
- June 2019. San Francisco becomes the first city to go through a vapor flavor ban.
- July 2019. The US District Court in Maryland ordered all new tobacco products (including e-cigs and vapes) to receive the FDA’s approval or pull their products off the market. The FDA launches a full-fledged anti-vaping campaign aimed against teen vaping.
- August 2019. Alabama enacts a law regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of vaping devices and other e-cigarettes. North Carolina and Illinois sue JUUL and other companies for marketing vapes to minors.
- September 2019. FDA starts a countrywide criminal investigation of vape-related lung injuries.
- December 2019. The President raised the federal minimum age required to buy vaping and tobacco products to 21 years.
- January 2020. FDA issues an Enforcement Priorities for Electronic Nicotine Delivery System to ban flavors that appeal to kids.
- September 2020. A deadline for submitting premarket applications for new e-cigarettes and vape products to FDA for review.
Will Vaping Become Illegal in the US?
Contrary to circulating rumors, vape devices won’t become illegal in the US.
According to July 2019 US District Court’s ruling, all tobacco products that appeared on the market after August 2016 need to receive authorization from the FDA. Companies that want to remain on the market should submit their applications before September 9, 2020. As we mentioned, the term “tobacco product” includes electronic nicotine delivery systems and e-liquid.
In short, the buzz about vaping becoming illegal is incorrect. The regulations are there to eliminate potentially harmful devices and flavors that appeal to children.
Are All Vapes Getting Banned?
Not all rumors are false. There’s some truth to the flavor ban news, meaning multiple vapes and e-juices will indeed leave the shelves in the US.
Some of the regulations issued by the FDA in January 2020 target flavors that are widely popular among children. According to the Enforcement Priorities for Electronic Nicotine Delivery System, the e-flavor ban will affect devices and cartridges with fruit, dessert, and mint flavorings.
Remember JUUL Labs, a company at the center of the teen vaping scandal? It had already taken their flavored vaped pods off the shelves.
What’s the bottom line? Companies that applied for an FDA review before the 9th of September 2020 and don’t target minors will avoid the e-cig ban.
However, in some states, they’ll have to limit their assortment to neutral-flavored vape devices.
Municipal Vape Bans
Now, is vaping illegal in major urban centers such as Chicago, San Francisco, and New York? Let’s take a closer look.
San Francisco prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products from January 2020. The vaping ban extends to all e-juices, even those with tobacco flavors. Furthermore, the ruling applies to retail and online stores.
Here’s a fun fact. San Francisco was the home of the JUUL labs — the company responsible for the vaping boom in the US. And now, it’s the first city where vaping is illegal in all forms.
On September 9, 2020, the board of the Chicago City had passed an ordinance that prohibits the sale of flavored nicotine products. The city has also banned selling all types of tobacco products to residents under 21 years old.
The ban applies to e-liquids that contain flavor-impacting constituents, including menthol (mint) flavors. However, the ordinance doesn’t restrict the sale of non-flavored e-liquids.
New York is another city with a flavored juice ban. The restrictions came into force in May 2020. Furthermore, selling vaping products to people younger than 21 is illegal.
State Vape Bans
Multiple states have joined the flavored vapor ban movement. What does that mean for consumers and vendors?
Vermont vape ban
The Vermont state doesn’t restrict the distribution of vapes. However, the state senate is currently considering banning flavored tobacco products. The minimum purchase age of tobacco products in the state stands at 21 years.
New Jersey vape ban
New Jersey prohibits the distribution of flavored vaping products. The ban applies to fruity and candy-like e-juices and even mint flavors. The legal age for purchasing electronic smoking devices is 21 in the state.
Massachusetts vape ban
Massachusetts’s administration has enacted a ban on the retail sale of flavored e-cigarettes since June 2020. Previously, the state ordered a temporary ban on all vaping products. The purchasing age stands at 21 in Massachusetts.
Rhode Island vape ban
Rhode Island permits vapes with unflavored e-juices to people over the age of 21. However, the state banned all flavored vapes and e-liquids in March 2020. These regulations follow an expired emergency ban of all e-cigs that expired in April 2020.
Connecticut vape ban
Aside from banning the sale of vape products to adults under 21, Connecticut doesn’t restrict vape distribution. However, local politicians are pushing to get flavored pods banned to battle teen vaping.
Michigan vape ban
Michigan’s governor issued a ban on flavored vape products in September 2019. In May 2020, the Court of Appeals upheld a decision to put an injunction on this vape ban.
So, are flavored pods banned in Michigan? The conclusion has not been reached yet. So far, the state only prohibits the selling of vapes to minors under 21 years.
Washington vape ban
Washington has enacted an emergency flavor ban that has expired in 2020. It looks like lawmakers have backed down attempts to regulate vapes, and there are no plans to ban flavored e-juices. The legal selling age for tobacco products in Washington starts at 21.
Oregon vape ban
Oregon’s government decision to ban flavored nicotine products was blocked in November 2019 by the Court of Appeals. The ban was canceled just two days before coming into force.
As of now, Oregon regulates the selling of marijuana vaping products and bans the distribution of vapes for minors.
Utah vape ban
Utah has strict vaping regulations. Vapes aren’t illegal there, but retailers can sell them only with a permit from the local health department. Besides, tobacco products can be sold only in person to residents over 21 years.
From July 2021, retailers will be unable to sell e-cigarettes with 5% and greater nicotine concentration. Furthermore, several bills propose a total ban on vaping products.
Montana vape ban
Montana representatives imposed a 120-day ban on flavored vapes that was lifted in April 2020. Local lawmakers are actually looking for ways to overturn vape bans.
Retailers in Montana still have to follow federal regulations. That means they can sell e-cigs only to people over the age of 21.
Age Restriction on Vapes
The minimum age required to sell e-cigarettes was raised from 18 to 21 years across the United States. The federal law that regulates this was passed by Congress and signed by the President in December 2019.
Therefore, the legal age selling age for tobacco products (and vapes) stands at 21 years across the country.
Vaping isn’t going anywhere. Aside from the minimum legal age required to purchase vapes, there aren’t any nation-wide regulations.
Several states have introduced a partial ban that affects only flavored e-cigarettes and e-juices. Nonetheless, these regulations exist only in selected regions. We should mention that some in the industry are challenging state-wide e-flavor bans at the federal level, so there is still much that remains to be seen.
You can always order premium vape pens with unique flavor combinations from Green Caviar Club. We offer a vast selection of vape products with swift and affordable nationwide shipping!
- Anant Derhgawen