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Updated on August 5, 2022

Will Vapes be Banned Under New 2022 Regulations?

Key Takeaways

  • Vapes are hand-held electric devices that contain a liquid that often contain synthetic nicotine
  • Synthetic nicotine is lab-made nicotine that is odorless and tasteless
  • Vapes are under scrutiny due to their role in youth nicotine addiction and claims they help tobacco smokers quit cigarettes
  • President Joe Biden signed a bill that added vaping products to a list of tobacco products, which may lead to a synthetic nicotine ban
  • No states have entirely banned vapes, but regulations on flavored vapes are becoming widespread

Will Vapes be Banned Under New 2022 Regulations?

A wave of new regulations on vaping companies has been released from the Food and Drug Administration over public health concerns. The regulations have confused producers, buyers, and sellers alike. 

Vapes, also called e-cigarettes or vape pens, are hand-held, battery-powered electric devices. Vapes heat up a liquid that often contains a percentage of synthetic nicotine. This vapor is inhaled, hence the word vaping. 

Electronic cigarette companies are under scrutiny for their vaping products. Unfortunately, flavored vapes have fallen into youth hands, causing an uptick in youth nicotine addiction. 

In the early marketing days, electronic cigarette companies claimed that their products helped users quit smoking cigarettes. The FDA has become increasingly wary of this allegation.

Is Vaping Getting Banned in the U.S.?

The short answer is maybe. E-cigarettes and other vaping products have avoided FDA regulation for years because of their use of synthetic nicotine rather than nicotine derived from tobacco. This created a loophole that allowed vaping products to fall into a category separate from tobacco products.

Joe Biden signed a $1.5 trillion bill on March 11, 2022, adding vaping products to the list of tobacco products. Now, some politicians are pushing for a nationwide synthetic nicotine ban. If successful, the ban would wipe synthetic nicotine vaping products off the market if they do not receive FDA authorization.

Flavored vapes have been under significant scrutiny for their role in youth smoking addiction. Presently, almost 85% of e-cigarette users reported using flavored products.1

Vaping Laws by State 2022

Vaping laws constantly change and vary by state. However, most states have laws regulating who can buy vapes and where they can be smoked. 

This recent bill ends the synthetic nicotine loophole and puts vapes and other e-cigarette products under the FDA's tobacco regulatory authority. This will subject vaping products to more harsh laws and regulations. Some politicians hope to ban them altogether.

On June 23, 2022, the FDA issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc., one of the leading vape companies in the world. As a result of this MDO, they were ordered to discontinue all distribution and sales immediately.

One day later, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a legal stay on JUUL Labs Inc., allowing them to continue sales. The motion to discontinue JUUL Labs Inc. is pending court review.  

What States Ban Vapes?

In January 2019, San Francisco, California became the only place in the country that completely banned synthetic nicotine products. 

Currently, there are no states that have completely banned the sale of electronic cigarettes. 

What Exactly is Synthetic Nicotine?

Synthetic nicotine is lab-made nicotine. Scientists figured out how to mimic the nicotine alkaloids found in a tobacco plant to make a tobacco-free nicotine product. Unlike tobacco-derived nicotine, synthetic nicotine is completely odorless and flavorless.

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Is Synthetic Nicotine Harmful?

Most scientists agree that it's too soon to know if synthetic nicotine is harmful.2 Although thousands of studies have been done on the effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the effects of vaping are largely unknown.

Some companies, such as the popular brand Puff Bar, hide their synthetic nicotine processes from the public. Puff Bar’s products are largely unregulated and possibly harmful. 

Synthetic nicotine is certainly addictive. Studies show that over 30% of teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes than teens who don't vape.3

How Vape Companies and Vapers Are Reacting to Anti-Vaping Regulations

While anti-vape advocates are happy with the FDA’s ruling, the American Vapor Manufacturers Association and vapers aren’t pleased. 

Additionally, business owners aren’t in favor of the widespread vape ban. Many owners of small businesses, such as convenience stores, rely on vape sales to stay open.

If the court rules with Biden and the FDA against JUUL Labs Inc., the actions against them may be a good insight into the future of other vape companies. 

If JUUL Labs Inc. is banned, the FDA says they will closely watch retailers and distributors to guarantee they’re no longer available. If they don’t stop distribution, the FDA can impose severe fines and seize products completely. 

Banning vapes would discontinue all production and sales of synthetic nicotine e-cigarettes. The vaping industry was valued at USD 18.13 billion in 2021.4

Bans on Flavors and Online Sales

No states have entirely banned vape sales. However, many states did ban flavored vaping products. 

These regulations limit vape sales to only traditional tobacco flavors. Some states also allow the sale of menthol, mint, and wintergreen flavors. 

The following states have started putting regulations on vape sales and products:

State Min. Age Vaping Bans
Arkansas 18 No online sales, only face-to-face sales
California 21 Flavor ban was attempted to be passed in 2020 but has been on hold for the November 2022 referendum. It will prohibit all vape flavors besides tobacco
Maine  21 No online sales unless between licensed businesses
Massachusetts 21 Statewide ban of all flavored vapes besides tobacco flavor
New Jersey 21 Flavor ban prohibits the sale of all flavors besides tobacco or menthol
New York 21 Flavor ban prohibits the sale of all flavors besides tobacco, menthol, mint, or wintergreen
Oregon 21 No online sales unless between licensed businesses
Rhode Island  18 Statewide ban of all flavored vapes besides tobacco flavor 
South Dakota  21 Prohibits out of state shipping of all vaping products 
Utah 21 No online sales unless between licensed businesses
Vermont 21 No online sales unless between licensed businesses
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Resources

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  1. Gentzke AS, Wang TW, Cornelius M, et al. Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2021. Surveillance Summaries. 11 Mar. 2022 
  2. National Library of Medicine. “Under the influence: NIH research shows teen vaping, social pressure on the rise.” www.magazine.medlineplus.gov/. 05 Nov. 2020
  3. Walser T, Cui X, Yanagawa J, Lee JM, Heinrich E, Lee G, Sharma S, Dubinett SM. Smoking and lung cancer: the role of inflammation. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2008 Dec 1
  4. E-cigarette And Vape Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Disposable, Rechargeable), By Distribution Channel (Online, Retail), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2022 - 2030. Grand View Research. www.grandviewresearch.com/.
  5. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Denies Authorization to Market JUUL Products.” 23 June, 2022. www.fda.gov/.

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