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Governor not in favor of banning flavored vaping liquids

Deposit photos/Innovated Captures

Deposit photos/Innovated Captures

Gov. Doug Ducey said he believes that banning flavored nicotine-laced vaping liquids may not be a good idea.

The governor told Capitol Media Services that he wants to keep these nicotine products out of the hands of teens. And state and local health officials have argued that many of the flavored products are designed to entice young people to vape even though they cannot purchase the product legally in Arizona until they are 18.

But Ducey said he’s not convinced that flavors like bubble gum and root beer are designed solely to attract children.

Ducey also is taking a wait-and-see attitude to the question of how old someone should have to be to purchase both vaping and tobacco products even as some Arizona communities are moving ahead and imposing a minimum age of 21.

The governor’s comments come as Alex Azar II, director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the Food and Drug Administration will come up with a plan to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other liquid pods, other than tobacco flavor, from the market.

Some states are not waiting.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order earlier this month banning the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products both in stores and online. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo followed suit less than two weeks later.

“Manufacturers of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes are intentionally and recklessly targeting young people, and today we’re taking action to put an end to it,” Cuomo said.

Ducey said his own Department of Health Services is trying its own approach to prevent youth vaping, citing its Facts over Flavor program which targets kids 9 through 13.

State health officials said that’s because youngsters are most likely to try their first cigarettes between ages 11 to 13. More to the point, they say that Arizona middle schools are finding that kids the same age also are vaping.

“We want to keep these products out of the hands of children,” Ducey said. But he worried a ban on flavored products may have unintended effects.

“I think there are some adults that enjoy these kinds of flavors,” he said.

“What I don’t want to do is take someone who is addicted (to nicotine), restrict them from finding a product and push them to the black market,” the governor continued. “So we’re going to have a measured approach.”

But the Facts over Flavor program appears to see the issue through a different lens.

In launching the program last year, Wayne Tormala, chief of the state health department’s Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, said he sees a direct link between flavored products and appeal to youth.

“When one of your most prolific sales of vape products goes to flavors called Fruity Pebbles, that’s hardly marketing to people my age,” said Tormala, who is in his 70s.

Then there’s the separate question of how old someone should be to purchase not just nicotine-laced vaping products but all forms of tobacco.

Current state law sets the minimum age at 18. But Cottonwood adopted an ordinance earlier this year restricting sales to those at least 21, with the Goodyear council acting along the same lines Monday night.

But other efforts, including in Pima County and Tucson, have stalled.

For the moment, the governor is content to let these decisions be made locally.

“I think that Goodyear can make the decision that they want that’s in favor of what they believe is best in terms of public health policy,” he said.

On one hand, Ducey said, he’d like “consistent policy across the state.” But the governor, who said he’s never smoked, is in no rush to enshrine that in state law, leaving it for now in the hands of local officials.

“I have no problem with anyone moving this age to 21,” Ducey said.

Earlier this year the House voted to raise the age of purchase of tobacco and vaping products to 21.

The Senate, however, found the wording of the bill unacceptable amid concerns by Sen. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, that it included provisions to block cities and towns from enacting their own new rules on the sale and marketing of tobacco and vaping products.

But Carter’s own proposals for tighter restrictions on vaping also failed to clear the Legislature even though it would have left the minimum age at 18 but preserved the ability of local governments to have their own restrictions.

9 comments

  1. Most people atart smoking before the age of 18. This is fact. The flavors are tobacco and menthol. So that would suggest your flavor stance is false. Unless you would prefer people to smoke. Limiting flavors on an 18 plus product when you dont go after things like cigarettes and alcohol says you want people dying in a specif manner to line your pocket book. Clearly the govenor realises this.

  2. “When one of your most prolific sales of vape products goes to flavors called Fruity Pebbles, that’s hardly marketing to people my age,” said Tormala, who is in his 70s.”

    I’m 50 and still enjoy Fruity Pebbles also when I go to the fair you can find me eating cotton candy, funnel cakes and everything else. Just because someone turns 18 or 21 that doea not mean they put away all “child related” tasting and only enjoy broccoli.

  3. That’s funny because I own several Vape shops I don’t sell to anybody under the 18 most of my customers are in their 30s to 60s and I can tell you I’m a 50-year-old man loves fruity pebble‘s Vape 90% of the E- juice I sell two adults only. has a fruity or a savory or a Kiki flavor so somebody given their opinion that has no idea means absolutely nothing to me and you are correct the black market will take over if you’re so concerned about that’s why don’t you start banning cigarettes oh I’m sorry that’s too much revenue bless America and don’t forget Vapors vote

  4. I’m from Texas, and let me say, I’m proud of your governor for not over reacting. Adults use flavors to stop smoking period. And to Mr. Tormala, Fruity Pebbles was introduced by Post in 1971, so for people into their 50’s fruity pebbles was a part of our childhood, and I still love them. It was a captain crunch flavored e-liquid that stopped my 20 year tobacco habit. Children are not the only human beings that have taste buds.

  5. I agree that children should not use vaping products, but taking flavored e-liquids away from those of us who vape is punishing us for the stupidity of children and the inadequacy of government to enact proper laws before vaping with children becomes an issue. If there had been a solid law enacted years ago when vaping became popular, then we wouldn’t have this problem now. I love all different flavored foods as well as flavored e-liquids. If government officials are really worried about flavored items being targeted toward children because of their names, then work on liquor stores because they have many alcohol bottles that have fancy fruit and candy names on them. Banning flavored liquids or banning all vaping products will not stop children from getting these products, because children have always shown that they will get what they want whatever way they can, and it may be by buying on the streets or underground. Children buytheir vaping products from convenience stores and gas stations. These places sell to children because there is no real adherance to preventing children to buy these. And just like sex stores, vaping stores should put signs up on their doors that say no one under 21 allowed in the store, not even with an adult. And if there is any question as to an age of any person, then their driver’s license has to be shown to verify the age. I’ve just given you the law that needs to be put into place. Enact this law and leave our choice to vape and our vaping products alone.

  6. Flavor ejuice has saved my life,simple facts should not be so hard.

  7. It’s incredible the amount of ignorant statements out there, in regards to flavors.

    “A fruit flavor?! A dessert flavor?! That’s only marketing for children!”

    What, a responsible adult is incapable of enjoying the taste of grapes, apples, or pie? Are you friggin’ kidding me?

    What an absolute joke, and a massive display of unbridled ignorance. What about Mango White Claws? What about Apple Vodka? What about Cherry Cigars? Oh, that’s different? Okay…

  8. Some (not-so-common) common sense from the Governor? That’s quite the rarity.

  9. If you are looking for the Best Tobacco E-Liquid shop in Ireland .E-Cigarette Shop provides a wide range of best Tobacco E-Liquid in Ireland.

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