This year, state lawmakers introduced two bills that would outlaw flavors for liquids used in nicotine vaping devices. The bills, LB 1550 and LB 1693, would ultimately harm adult users of these products, likely driving them back to using tobacco. These bills are currently being reviewed by the joint committees and will soon go to a vote.
Yaël Ossowski, deputy director at the D.C.-based Consumer Choice Center, said “enacting a flavor ban for vaping products will do more harm than good as it will push adult consumers to switch back to smoking combustible tobacco. Considering that studies have shown vaping to be 95% less harmful than smoking, ensuring that adult consumers have access to the vaping products they prefer will ultimately lead to fewer cigarette smoking-related deaths within the state.
“More than 4.1% of Maine’s adult population uses vaping products, accounting for over 54,000 consumers within the state who have switched to a healthier alternative to combustible tobacco. Banning flavored vaping products will encourage these former smokers to switch back to smoking cigarettes and will ultimately lead to increases in smoking-related healthcare costs, which are already costing (state) taxpayers over $262.6 million annually,” said Ossowski.
“If a flavor ban is enacted, then consumers will likely look towards the black market in order to get access to their preferred flavored vaping products. This presents serious concerns for public health as vapers will be purchasing unregulated products that could be extremely dangerous to their wellbeing.
“In addition to endangering public health, pushing consumers to the black market through a flavor ban will also be to the detriment of many vape shops throughout the state as many of their products will no longer be available. After already suffering through the economic hardships of the pandemic, this bill could effectively kill many of these small businesses already struggling to stay afloat.
“Instead of implementing misguided flavor bans, lawmakers should embrace vaping products in order to protect public health, small businesses, and consumer choice throughout the state,” said Ossowski.