The idea of trying to ban vaping companies from selling flavored e-juices isn’t particularly new. Way back in 2015, we told you about a small California city that approved a measure that would effectively ban flavored cigars, tobacco products, and e-juices used for e-cigarettes from being sold.
We called banning flavored e-juices silly back then—and we still think it’s silly now. Incredibly silly really. Because the thinking behind these bans is that they are going to prevent kids from flocking to vape shops to purchase e-juices that are available in a wide range of flavors.
Forget that underage teens aren’t even supposed to be able to set foot inside of vape shops. Forget that there are already laws that “ban” them from purchasing e-juices. By banning flavored e-juices, there are many lawmakers who feel as though they are somehow protecting all of the kids out there, even though they don’t really need to be protected from anything since they’re already protected by the laws that exist.
Despite the absurdity that surrounds bans on flavored e-juices, it seems that there are some cities and even some entire states that still think banning flavored e-juices is the way to go. The latest state to try and ban them is New Jersey, which has already implemented a ban on flavored tobacco products. And now, lawmakers are pushing a bill that would extend that ban so that it includes flavored e-juices as well.
Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. But let’s dive a little deeper into why the state thinks this push is necessary—and why it’s really not.
Why New Jersey Lawmakers Want to Ban Flavored E-Juices
In certain parts of New Jersey, like the state capital of Trenton, the smoking/vaping age has been raised to 21. That means that anyone under the age of 21 cannot purchase tobacco or vaping products. In the rest of the state, the age is 19.
But regardless of where you live in New Jersey, you cannot—or at least, should not be able to—buy any smoking or vaping products legally unless you’re somewhere between the ages of 19 and 21. This means that those who are 12 or 15 or even 18 are not permitted to purchase smoking or vaping products.
And we are all for that. Underage people shouldn’t be able to make the decision to smoke or vape. However, there are some lawmakers who are arguing that flavored e-juices entice young people to try and get access to vaping products at a young age. So those lawmakers, like state Del. Herb Conaway, have argued in favor of a flavored e-juice ban.
“The appeal of electronic smoking devices is just as bad, if not worse, because the products are available in almost every candy-like flavor imaginable,” Conaway said recently. “From a public health perspective, it makes sense to extend the ban on flavored tobacco products to electronic smoking devices as well.”
Conaway, like some other lawmakers inside and outside of New Jersey, thinks the “candy-like flavors” of some e-juices will be too much for kids to resist. So he wants to see the ban go into effect as quickly as possible. He doesn’t want to see kids use vaping as a “gateway” to smoking, even though that theory has been disproven time and time again.
The Argument Against It
Conaway obviously feels passionately about the flavored e-juice ban that he’s trying to help push through the necessary channels. But we suspect that he hasn’t considered all of the different angles of the measure.
If flavored e-juices are banned in New Jersey, it’s not going to have the kind of impact that Conaway thinks it will have. It will prevent people from vaping, but unfortunately, it will be those who vape legally who will end up suffering the most.
Whether lawmakers realize it or not—and we know this will come as a huge shock to all of you—there are actually many vapers who (gasp!) enjoy the many e-juice flavors that are on the market today. It doesn’t matter if they are 21, 31, 41, or 81. There are vapers who can appreciate e-juices that taste like cotton candy, lemon meringue, apple pie, s’mores, and more, regardless of their age.
The bill that’s being pushed in New Jersey will make it impossible for New Jersey residents to get their hands on these flavors, even if they are well within their rights to get access to them. The lawmakers are essentially going to be punishing the majority in an effort to…well, we don’t know what their end goal is.
Lawmakers might say that they are doing this to protect the kids in the state. But the truth is that they would be better served going after vape shops that sell products to minors instead of punishing everyone in the state who vapes. But that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it?
How Will It Affect Vape Shops and Vapers in New Jersey?
We should note that New Jersey has not banned flavored e-juices just yet. So there’s a chance that vape shops and vapers won’t ultimately be affected by the bill lawmakers are trying to pass.
But if it does go through and New Jersey becomes the first state to prohibit the sale of flavored e-juices altogether, it could be catastrophic for many businesses. One vape shop owner from Middlesex, New Jersey spoke earlier this week and said that she will suffer greatly along with hundreds of other business owners if the bill turns into a law.
“There are 350 vape shops in New Jersey that are in my same situation,” she said. “That is quite a bit of revenue and jobs to be lost in New Jersey.”
To be clear, the vape shops wouldn’t be forced to close down or anything, but they would have their inventory slashed significantly. They would only be able to offer tobacco, clove, and menthol flavors to customers.
That would affect the customers just as much as it would affect the shops. The same vape shop owner from Middlesex said that many of her customers come to her shop to check out the flavors she keeps in stock. Without those flavors, will those customers continue to come back and vape—or will they quit vaping altogether?
Some lawmakers might want to see vapers stop vaping, but the shop owner argued that many of those people picked up vaping when they stopped smoking. So it could turn into quite the conundrum, with some people opting to go back to smoking due to the lack of e-juice choices. The whole thing sounds like it could get very messy and blow up in the lawmakers’ faces.
Why Other States Should Not Follow Suit
New Jersey is the first state to try and ban all flavored e-juices, but if the bill in the state turns into a law, something tells us it won’t be the last state to try it.
In the future, there may be other states that attempt to do the same thing, which would be devastating to the vaping community as a whole. Flavored e-juices are appealing to many vapers, and without them, we would guess that many of them would quit vaping.
For now, we just hope states like New Jersey take a good, hard look at what they’re doing when they bring up bans on flavored e-juices. The intentions of lawmakers might be good, but in the end, these bans aren’t going to solve whatever problems they think exist. And they might create new problems that they aren’t even anticipating.