Vermont bans flavored vapes tobacco products

Vermont bans flavored vapes tobacco products

The Vermont House of Representatives has taken a significant step towards addressing public health concerns by passing a comprehensive bill that would ban the sale of flavored vaping products and tobacco items, as well as prohibit online sales of all nicotine-containing products. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 18 (S 18), had previously been approved by the state Senate.

The bill will now return to the Senate for final adjustments to align the two versions before being sent to Governor Phil Scott’s desk. The governor will then have the option to sign the bill into law or exercise his veto power. If signed, the flavor ban is set to take effect on January 1, 2026.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has been actively encouraging Vermont residents to voice their opposition to S 18 since April 2023. The organization issued a call to action, urging constituents to contact their legislators and request them to vote against the bill. With the legislation moving forward, CASAA is now considering updating its strategy to focus on asking Gov. Scott to veto the measure. Vermont residents who wish to express their concerns can reach out to the governor’s office by calling (802) 828-3333.

Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, has raised concerns about the potential loss of tax revenue that could result from banning menthol cigarettes. In a recent interview with NBC5, he stated, “We’re talking millions of millions of dollars, so if it’s $15 million we’re going to lose by putting this ban in place, I think we better reflect on that.”

If enacted, the Vermont bill would prohibit the sale of all flavored consumer nicotine products, including vapes, nicotine pouches, smokeless tobacco, and menthol cigarettes. Additionally, it would ban online sales of all nicotine products, regardless of their flavor. Unlike the Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) registry bills currently affecting vapers in more than 20 states, the Vermont legislation does not provide exemptions for products authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Currently, five states – California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island – have implemented bans on flavored vaping products. However, only California and Massachusetts have extended their bans to include menthol cigarettes.

Vermont currently imposes a 92% wholesale tax on vaping products, which is the highest rate in the country. This tax applies to all vaping products, regardless of whether they contain nicotine or not.

As the bill progresses through its final stages, the outcome will depend on Governor Scott’s decision to either sign it into law or issue a veto based on the potential economic impact. The ongoing debate surrounding the regulation of flavored nicotine products continues to be a contentious issue nationwide, with advocates on both sides passionately arguing their positions.

The passage of Senate Bill 18 in the Vermont House of Representatives marks a significant milestone in the state’s efforts to address public health concerns related to flavored nicotine products. As the bill moves closer to potentially becoming law, the eyes of the nation will be on Vermont to see how this legislation impacts the state’s residents, businesses, and overall public health landscape.

Matthew Ma