The Truth About Vape Bans

Vaping has increased in popularity all around the world, but it has also raised some controversy that has been building up over the decades. You have probably heard about the vape bans that have been happening and are wondering, “Are they banning vapes in 2024?” The good news is, no, not all vapes are being banned entirely and we are here to help shed some light on the topic. Here in the United States, the FDA regulates all vaping products but the majority of vape bans are happening at state and local levels. While it may sound like they are trying to “ban vapes,” most of the vape restrictions taking place in the U.S. actually involve flavored vape bans and even the online sales of vapor products. So, is vaping illegal? Are all vapes being banned? You have questions and we have answers so let’s dive into it! 

Is Vaping Illegal?

The short and sweet answer is, no, vaping is not illegal in the United States. However, many states and local governments in the U.S. have banned indoor vaping and vaping in public areas where smoking is also banned, as recommended by the Surgeon General. Some cities and states have taken it a step further by banning the sales of flavored vape products, while some states have even banned the sales of vape products altogether. More and more states are considering regulations on vape products, and some have opted to put temporary vape bans into effect until more research and information on vaping is available. This leaves a lot of consumers asking, “Are vapes being banned?” 2024 may have some new challenges ahead but these regulations are constantly changing. While the number of vape bans being proposed has grown, only a fraction of them actually go into effect. That’s because adult vape users have shared their opposing thoughts and successfully blocked them from going into effect. 

What are the Current Vape Bans?

There are two federal laws that have been passed, one being Tobacco 21, which increased the minimum age to buy nicotine products to 21, to stop the rise of nicotine use by minors. The second federal law passed banned the sales of flavored pre-filled pods. The Pact Act Amendment (Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act) was passed in 2021, which bans the online sales of vape products and also prohibits sellers from using the U.S. Post Office (USPS) to ship e-cigarettes, vapes, and smokeless tobacco products. We will talk more about the Pact Act later, as it affects more than just vape bans across the country. In addition to these restrictions, some states have passed laws that ban the online sales of vape products, meaning they can only sell vapes in person. Other states have passed flavored vape bans, which usually includes all flavored vapes other than tobacco flavors. These laws are constantly changing so it is a good idea to stay up to date with the current regulations in your city and state. If you are planning on traveling, you should also prepare by reading up on the vape laws wherever your destination may be. 

Tobacco vs Cannabis Vapes

While tobacco vapes and cannabis vapes are similar in the fact that they both produce vapor, there are some key differences to be aware of. Tobacco vapes, also known as e-cigarettes, heat up a liquid that contains nicotine to produce vapor. On the contrary, cannabis vapes are used to heat up cannabis concentrates in order to produce a vapor that contains cannabinoids, like THC and CBD. There have been several bans regarding nicotine vapes, however, there are less regulations when it comes to cannabis vapes. That’s because cannabis vapes are a relatively newer market, which is limited by federal marijuana laws and state by state cannabis legalization. Even though some states haven’t legalized cannabis recreationally or medically, the Farm Bill that was passed in 2018 federally legalized low THC cannabis products that contain less than 0.3% THC. Cannabis vaping has become very popular ever since then and now you can find many legal cannabis vapes that contain less than 0.3% THC! If you are not sure about the cannabis laws in your state, make sure you check before you purchase any cannabis vapes that have a higher THC content than the legal amount. 

Flavor Bans

Why are some states moving forward with a flavored vape ban? Since 2018, the number of minors who have started vaping flavored e-cigs has increased significantly across the nation. The vape flavor bans began in hopes of preventing the youth from wanting to vape these fruity flavors and restricting their access to flavored vapes altogether. We have listed the current vape bans in effect in the United States and what all they entail below.

 ·    California passed a flavored vape ban in 2022, which prevents in-store sales of flavored vape products except for tobacco flavors. While this statewide law does not ban the online sales of flavored vapes, there are some cities that have passed stricter laws. The major cities in California that have passed flavor vape bans include Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland and San Jose. There are several smaller cities in California that have also put flavored vape bans into effect. San Fransisco and a few smaller cities in CA have completely banned the sales of all vape products. 

·    Massachusetts has a statewide flavored vape ban that was passed in 2019. It prohibits the sales of all vape flavors, with the exception of tobacco flavors, and includes tobacco products, as well.

·    New Jersey has a flavored vape ban that includes all flavors, except for tobacco and menthol flavors. Their local government decided not to ban menthol cigarettes, after they realized how much the state would lose in taxes as a result. The governor also increased the tax on all vaping products.

·    New York passed a flavored vape ban in 2020, which includes all vape flavors except for tobacco flavors. New York has also banned the online sales of all vaping products in general.

·    Rhode Island has a permanent flavored vape ban, except for tobacco flavors. This vape flavor ban was created via the Department of Health.

·     Vermont recently banned the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored vape products of any kind, effective as of September 1, 2023.

·    Major cities with flavored vape bans in effect include Chicago, Illinois and Boulder, Colorado. 

Online Sales Bans

Like we mentioned before, some states have banned online sales of vape products. The action to ban online sales came after federal legislation PACT Act was passed. The rationale behind the online sales bans is that many minors have stated that they have purchased their vapes from online retailers. The online sales ban therefore limits what access they may have had to vapes and allowing only face to face transactions for vape products makes age verification easier to keep track of. Keep in mind, the only exception to this rule is business to business transactions. Below you will find a list of states that have implemented a ban on online sales of vape products.

·       Arkansas businesses are issued tobacco permits, which only allow for in-person transactions and prohibits them from making any online sales of vape products. 

·       Georgia has banned all online sales of vape products, allowing only face to face transactions in retail stores.

·       Hawaii passed a law in July 2023 that bans the online sales of vape products from out of state, allowing only face to face transactions in retail stores.

·       Maine has an online sales ban, which prohibits the shipping of all tobacco and vape products to Maine residents, allowing only face to face transactions in retail stores.

·       New York has an online sales ban, which prohibits the shipping of all vape products that contain liquid, but this does not include vape devices or accessories.

·       Oregon currently bans the online sales of all vape products and components.

·       Rhode Island has recently banned the online sales of all vape products, as of 2023.

·       South Dakota has an online sales ban, which prohibits the shipping of all tobacco and vape products and allows only face to face transactions in retail stores.

·       Utah currently bans the online sales of all vape products, allowing only face to face transactions in retail stores.

·       Vermont currently bans the online sales of all vape products, allowing only face to face transactions in retail stores.

Tax Hikes

Do states tax vape products? When vaping first emerged, vape products were exempt from the tobacco taxes that applied to cigarettes and other tobacco products because vaping was considered a better alternative to smoking. Tobacco taxes are always increasing, mainly to discourage adult consumers from using potentially harmful tobacco products and to increase overall tax collections. The Pact Act we talked about earlier also requires retailers who sell vape products to comply with state and local tax requirements and to treat e-cigs and other vape products like traditional tobacco cigarettes. There are currently 34 states, including the District of Columbia, collecting taxes on vape products but more states will probably start taxing vape products in the future. These vape taxes vary from state to state but vape products are usually taxed either by the unit or on a percentage basis. Like tobacco taxes, the taxes on vape products are increasing for multiple reasons but mainly to discourage the youth and young adults from vaping. It is also possible that states with a vape tax will consider raising these taxes in the future.

Why is Vaping Banned But Not Cigarettes?

Many adult vape users are opposed to the vape bans, stating that they first started vaping to help them quit smoking cigarettes. So, why are they banning vapes? Even though many adult consumers can agree that vaping has helped them to quit smoking cigarettes, the same can’t be applied when considering the youth. With adolescent vaping on the rise, some say that it is the gateway for them to start smoking cigarettes. The vape bans are intended to decrease the number of teens and young adults who are using or trying vapor products. In fact, several states have also banned flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, as these flavors are more appealing to the youth.

Vaping Essentials from Strio

With several states now implementing vape bans, many consumers have had a difficult time finding the vaping products that they enjoy. If you are a vaping enthusiast and your state is considering new vapor regulations, you should reach out to your state representative to voice your opinion and encourage your fellow vapers to do the same. No matter what laws may go into effect, you can count on Strio to continue designing the most innovative products that will shape the future of smoke culture. Our unique products combine functionality with cutting-edge technology that will elevate your experience to the next level. Don’t forget to vape responsibly!