As of last Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now count 530 cases of illness, and nine deaths directly related to vaping. Dr. Ann Schuchat of the CDC told KTLA that she expects “hundreds more” by the time the organization announces a new count later this week. Now, states across the country are starting to sound the alarm and issue widespread e-cigarette bans as the CDC and FDA continue to investigate the cause of the mysterious outbreak of vape-related illnesses while attempting to curb the growing use of e-cigarettes amongst teenagers.
Amid the growing controversy, Huffington Post reports that Kevin Burns the CEO of popular e-cigarette brand JUUL Labs announced that he’d be stepping down from his position on Wednesday and that JUUL would be suspending all broadcast, print, and digital product advertisement. Burns will be replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite, who previously served as the Chief Growth Officer for Altria, a major tobacco company that owns a 35% stake in JUUL.
On the future direction of the company, Crosthwaite said “I have long believed in a future where adult smokers overwhelmingly choose alternative products like JUUL… Unfortunately, today that future is at risk to unacceptable levels of youth usage and eroding public confidence in our industry.” Which is, nice, we guess, but also reflects what is so frustrating about the proposed flavored e-cigarette ban to longtime users who rely on e-cigarettes — particularly flavored capsules — to kick their smoking habits. The CDC, FDA, and the Trump administration keep trying to solve two independent problems with one solution. While a single ingredient has yet to be linked to the 530 illnesses and nine deaths, we already know that flavoring is not one of them.
Banning flavored e-cigarettes will likely reduce use amongst young people, but it does absolutely nothing for reducing the instances of illness or death. Which is why states are taking the matter into their own hands.
The States Who Have Banned Or Are In The Process of Banning E-Cigarettes
We will continually update this list as more states and cities announce bans, but considering New York and California have already begun to address the matter expect the rest of the country to follow.
This Tuesday, California officials issued a warning urging people to stop vaping immediately. California has not outright banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the state, but several cities are addressing the problem which is causing a domino effect. As of right now, the city of San Francisco has banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in their city, and have issued a full moratorium on e-cigarettes sales that will go into effect in January and remain in effect until the FDA completes its assessment on the health risks.
The Bay Area cities of Richmond and Livermore are currently floating similar bans.
Los Angeles is the midst of considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and the city’s board of supervisors has voted unanimously to advance the measure and will reconvene for a final vote next week. The measure would prohibit the sale of liquid nicotine pods and would also affect traditional menthol cigarettes, shisha, an ingredient used in hookah pipes and flavored chewing tobacco, and calls for a new licensing fee and tax for all tobacco sales businesses in the county’s unincorporated areas, according to a report from KTLA.
The state of Massachusetts announced this week that they will be implementing a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products, which includes flavored and non-flavored capsules, and marijuana-related products, making it the most extensive ban to date.
“The purpose of this public health emergency is to temporarily pause all sales of vaping products so that we can work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents,” says Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement.
To date, 61 potential cases of vape-related illness have been reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The sale of flavored e-cigarettes has been banned since September 4th in the state of Michigan. Non-flavored e-cigarette capsules are still on the market and the state hasn’t indicated that it is floating the idea of a full ban.
New York has issued an emergency ban that will prohibit the sale of all flavored (except menthol) e-cigarettes and e-liquids that will officially go into effect on October 4th. The ban is meant to address the rising rates of use among teenagers and as a response to the ongoing investigation of 74 cases of vape-related illness in the state.