The American vaping industry has had a very stressful month with the passing of the new FDA e-cig regulations, but there may be a bigger battle looming in the days ahead. The tiny state of New Jersey is attempting to ban the manufacturing and sales of all flavored e-juices in the state, and a federal ban might be right around the corner.
Amid a crowd of hundreds protesting on the steps of the New Jersey State House, the state Senate Health Committee led by NJ Sen. Joseph Vitale agreed to send Bill S-298 for a full vote by both houses of congress. The bill looks almost certain to pass by a huge margin, and if it is signed into law by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, then only tobacco, clove, and menthol flavored e-juices will be available for purchase in the Garden State.
New Jersey and Montana hit the vaping industry hard
At almost the same time, another little-known state is also pushing anti-vaping legislation of another sort. Within hours of the NJ bill passing committee approval, the controversial Montanabill HF 848 was reassigned to the state’s House Tax Conference Committee for review. While this proposed legislation does not attempt to ban flavored e-juices, it tries to eliminate them another way – by placing a massive $9-per-bottle tax on every flavor, including the Big Three of tobacco, clove, and menthol.
Since the going, average rate for a bottle of e-juice tends to fall somewhere in the $10-15 range, adding a $9 sales tax will essentially double the price of e-juice in Montana, which will force e-cig retailers in the state to close up shop. States like New Jersey and Montana know that they do not have the legal authority to ban e-cigs, so they are inventing very creative legislature to get around it instead. And according to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, “there were roughly 200 bills introduced across 40 states that addressed some aspect of e-cigarette and vapor product regulation. “
A Federal ban, step-by-state?
Two things could happen. The first would be a surge of individual states following the lead of NewJersey and implementing a ban on flavored e-juices state-by-state. The second is a federal ban, perhaps regulated through the FDA but put into law by some other congressional action. However, the second option seems currently unlikely because of a Republican-controlled Congress. It’s the Democrats who largely demonize the vaping industry. But this is election year. And anything can happen.