For months, vapers and vape shops have waited anxiously for news of a federal vapor ban. Ever since President Trump floated the idea in September of 2019, we’ve all wondered if we’d still be able to vape our favorite non-tobacco, non-menthol flavors. Last week, after months of debate and backroom dealings, the FDA released the first federal flavor ban - and things are not nearly as bad as we might have feared.
Let’s not leave you hanging: if you're an open-system vaper (and if you're here, it's likely you are!), then nothing is going to change for you. Open systems - mods and tanks, for instance, and even open pod systems like the Caliburn below - are completely unaffected by the FDA's partial closed-system flavor ban. You'll still be able to buy the same flavored vape juice you have been, and fill your own pods, cartridges, tanks, and RDAs with it.
So who does it affect, then? Closed system manufacturers and vapers. The FDA guidance relates specifically to pre-filled cartridges for closed systems - Juul and other “e-cigarettes", in other words. Because the National Youth Tobacco Survey shows that most youth vapers are using closed pod systems, those are the devices that will be subject to the flavor ban: they’ll only be able to sell pre-filled closed systems with tobacco and menthol flavors. Pod systems that aren’t pre-filled are okay; empty pod systems are okay. Pod systems pre-filled with tobacco or menthol flavors are okay; pod systems pre-filled with any other flavor are banned.
That’s not how you vape, though, or you wouldn’t be here. (And if that IS how you vape, welcome! You’re going to love the flexibility and power of open systems!) For you, vaping is about the options that come with being able to select your flavors, your output, your clouds, your PG/VG ratios. You want vape juice custom-made for you, and vaping devices that work exactly the way you want - from the ease of open system pods to the power of RDAs and custom coils. For you, the adult vaper looking for options, nothing changes at all. Let's call this one a win.
But this is only the beginning. There are a number of issues remaining, from PMTA applications to the possibility that the FDA will announce a flavor ban that does include open systems. We can’t afford to let our attention slide! We have to remain vigilant, and be ready to remind our elected officials that #WeVapeWeVote. We didn’t get this soft ban through silence: it was earned through hours of hard work on the part of vapers just like you and I. The news is great! But we still need to keep our heads up and our eyes open if we want to protect our rights in the future.