• April 6, 2020

Oregon Bill Banning All Flavored Nicotine Vapor Products Dies

Flavored nicotine vape products dodged another bullet after Oregon lawmakers killed a proposal to ban them. Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, who championed the bill, said the priority is now to create a program to license all nicotine retailers, according to an article on oregonlive.com.

“The flavor ban is gone,” the Gresham Democrat said at the beginning of Senate Bill 1577’s work session Thursday afternoon.

The proposal to ban all flavored nicotine vaping and e-cigarette products came in the midst of an explosion of public awareness about the potential dangers of the minimally regulated industry, the article states.

Concerns escalated with a lung illness epidemic that has been attributed primarily to black market marijuana oil vape products. That crisis brought attention to an entirely different one – a spike in youth addiction to nicotine, driven by addictive, available and easily concealable vaping products.

Monnes Anderson’s bill would have banned the sale of all nicotine vape products with flavors, such as mango and mint. Only those that actually tasted like tobacco would have been allowed, the article states.

In a crucial distinction from a federal ban on flavored products already on the books, the bill would not have distinguished between types of vaping devices – it would have banned disposable, refillable and cartridge-based flavored vape products. Each violation would have been punishable by up to $5,000.

Monnes Anderson said she didn’t have the votes in the Senate. She attributed that to a variety of concerns lawmakers had, including the potential hit to state revenue if both the bill and a November ballot proposal to increase tobacco taxes pass, the article states.

In a memo handed to Monnes Anderson and other lawmakers, a lobbyist for tobacco company Reynolds American estimated that a ban on flavored nicotine products would make a substantial dent in state revenue.

The November ballot measure includes a proposal to tax vaping products for the first time. With a ban on flavored products, the lobbyist estimated that the state would pull in $22.6 million less in potential revenue in the 2021-23 biennium and $24 million less in the following biennium, the article states.

The calculations are based on legislative estimates of how much a vaping tax would bring. According to 2019 estimates, the state would collect $25 million in 2021-23. Assuming about 90 percent of vape products are flavored, revenue would drop 90 percent as well, according to the lobbyist’s memo.