California Bans Flavored Vapes, but Smokers Just Go Online

California's Flavor Vape Ban Drives Online Sales Surge

Californians turned to online shopping for flavored vapes after the state banned them.

Flavored Vapes

In a bold move aimed at curbing nicotine addiction among teenagers, California recently outlawed menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping products. However, a fascinating new study reveals that many smokers simply shrugged off the ban and turned to the vast world of online shopping for their flavored vapes. It seems that when the going gets tough, the tough get clicking!

According to the research published in the journal Tobacco Control, the implementation of the ban triggered a significant surge in online shopping for flavored cigarettes and vapes. In fact, web searches for these products skyrocketed, with shopping queries being a staggering 194% higher than expected for cigarettes and 162% higher than expected for vape products. Clearly, Californians were not about to let a small thing like a ban get in the way of their favorite flavors.

But how is this possible? Well, it seems that the absence of explicit regulations on e-commerce sales creates convenient loopholes for consumers. Despite the ban, at least two and possibly up to 36 online retailers continue to offer access to flavored vapes or menthol cigarettes. Sneaky, but resourceful!

Lead researcher, Eric Leas, an assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at the University of California, San Diego, and director of the Tobacco E-commerce Lab, emphasizes the need to close these loopholes and bolster tobacco control policies. He suggests including e-commerce retailers within California’s retailer licensing programs and implementing strict compliance monitoring. It’s time to bring the online sellers to heel!

These findings have important implications for policymakers and public health advocates. As the e-commerce market for tobacco products continues to grow, comprehensive regulations are needed to navigate the challenges it poses. Let’s face it, we can’t just let these sneaky online retailers puff away at the law while the rest of us play by the rules.

So, dear readers, the next time you’re tempted to indulge in some flavored vapes, remember to play it safe and check for those reputable, law-abiding retailers. And to the policymakers out there, it’s time to shake off the smoke and get those regulations up to speed. Let’s put the fog of loopholes to rest and clear the air on tobacco control!

More information The American Lung Association has valuable resources on helping teenagers quit smoking and vaping.

SOURCES: University of California, San Diego, news release, Nov. 7, 2023