E-cigarette users, sellers, react to potential federal ban on flavored e-liquids

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - E-cigarette users and sellers are reacting to news of a federal ban on flavored e-liquid, proposed by President Donald Trump.

“It's not marketed towards kids,” said e-cigarette user and advocate Eric Broderson. “Nothing on the bottle screams 'hey kids, pick this up and start vaping.'"

Broderson, like many e-cigarette users, started vaping as a way to quit smoking. Broderson says he will try to quit for good now, but knows many that will go back to tobacco.

"Me personally, the nicotine is a stress relief, it's a release, it's a small vice," said Broderson.

If the ban takes effect, vape shops all over the country will be forced to either completely overhaul inventory carried, or close entirely.

"99 percent of my products are flavored liquids, and if this ban does go into effect, it will essentially shut down that part of my business," said Rustic Vapor owner Eric Curtis.

President Trump, like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, authorized the ban on flavored e-liquid on the basis of a health crisis. There have been a number of deaths in the past couple years related to vaping.

“Data is coming in now that we're finding these deaths have been linked to illegal black market THC cartridges," said Broderson.

A recent study by the CDC has found that roughly 80 percentof all vaping illnesses are tied to black market THC cartridges.

Another complaint from e-cigarette opponents has been the marketing of products, with flavors and packaging that appeal to teens and children.

"Smirnoff has more than 35 flavors of vodka, many of which fit the exact same flavor profiles that we vapers are using,” said Broderson. “There's marshmallow, ice cake, blueberry lemonade, whip cream, cherry."

Under the ban, only tobacco flavored liquids will be available for sale, meaning even common cigarette flavors like mint and menthol will be banned in the liquid forms.

"You've got a product that is proven to kill 50 percent of its customers as far as menthol cigarettes, or even flavored cigarettes,” said Curtis. “There's still flavored cigarettes around."

The ban in Michigan will go into effect in the coming months. The federal ban will be announced after the FDA agrees on guidelines.

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