The flavor ban bill introduced in Illinois would also ban flavored THC vaping devices. Senate Bill 3854, introduced in January, is currently in committee. Any flavored flavored vaping product, including heat-not-burn systems and tobacco chew, would be banned.
The bill provides “that (1) “tobacco product” includes products containing tetrahydrocannabinol and products containing a mixture of tetrahydrocannabinol and nicotine, and (2) “tobacco retailer” includes dispensing organizations and dispensing organization agents, as those terms are defined in the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act. Creates a presumption that a tobacco product, related tobacco product, alternative nicotine product, or solution or substance intended for use with electronic cigarettes is a banned product, solution, or substance intended for use with electronic cigarettes if it has or produces a characterizing flavor.”
A consumer advocacy group says the measure could do more harm than good. Elizabeth Hicks, U.S. Affairs analyst with the Consumer Choice Center, said enacting a flavor ban for vaping products will push adult consumers to switch back to smoking combustible tobacco at a time when smoking cigarettes has been trending down in Illinois, according to KPVI.
“About 12% of adults in 2020 reported smoking, however, if this bill passes, we can certainly expect that number to increase,” Hicks said. “This ultimately will lead to increases in smoking-related healthcare costs, which are already costing Illinois taxpayers over $1.9 billion annually,” Hicks said.
The state of Illinois passed two laws last year aimed at making it harder for minors to access vaping products. The first law (Senate Bill 512) prohibits the use of cartoon characters, video game characters, and popular children’s media from advertisements for e-cigarettes. It also makes it harder to buy vaping products online. Buyers will now have to use a credit card or check in the buyer’s name.
The second law (Senate Bill 555) amends the Substance Use Disorder Act to include vape shops. Adding vape shops allows the Illinois Department of Human Services to do compliance checks on the sale of e-cigarettes according to the minimum purchasing age of 21.