New Hampshire will consider banning flavored e-cigarette liquid in the coming year. That’s thanks to state representative Jerry Knirk, who has requested a bill for 2020 “prohibiting the use of flavors in vaping products.” The text of that bill is not yet public so details of Rep. Knirk’s plan aren’t clear.
Earlier in September, Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes. Legislators in New York recently followed suit with a 90-day emergency ban on flavored vape products. The governor of Massachusetts went even further, imposing a temporary ban on the sale of all e-cigarette products.
The federal Food and Drug Administration is also working on restrictions for flavored vape juice, which would likely trump any state regulations.
Concerns over youth use of e-cigarettes
By banning flavored vaping products, lawmakers hope to make e-cigarettes less appealing to youth. Vaping has been rising in popularity with young people across the United States. New Hampshire is no exception, with e-cigarette use common among the state's high schoolers. According to the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in New Hampshire, 41% of high schoolers have tried vaping, 24% have vaped in the past month, and 4% vape every day.
For many years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended banning flavored e-cigarettes, concerned that flavors like mango and bubblegum attract young people, who then get addicted to the nicotine in e-cigarette liquid. The U.S. Surgeon General warns that nicotine is particularly dangerous to developing brains.
Lung damage outbreak fuels concerns about vaping
There is also mounting evidence that some of the other chemicals in e-cigarettes are harmful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a multistate outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarettes. So far, over 500 cases have been reported.
The CDC is still not sure what is causing the outbreak of lung disease, only that the people involved have used e-cigarettes in general. Some have theorized that the problem comes from the use of black market e-cigarettes or vape liquid.
Ban could exacerbate problems
Some in New Hampshire have already voiced opposition to a ban on flavored vape products. They note that it would have a negative impact on the businesses that sell e-cigarette liquid.
“[The flavors are] not geared towards kids; it’s geared towards adults to make it more attractive for them to quit smoking,” David Cavallero, owner of Monadnock Vapor, recently told the Keene Sentinel.
Others voice concerns that banning flavored e-cigarettes will just drive more consumers to that unregulated black market and argue that other policies such as public education or cracking down on the black market would be more effective.