• April 16, 2024

Virginia Vape Registry, Flavor Ban on Governor’s Desk

 Virginia Vape Registry, Flavor Ban on Governor’s Desk

Credit: FotoMak

Credit: FotoMak

Flavored vaping products lacking authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could be pulled from Virginia shelves, as a pair of identical bills head to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk for his signature. The governor has previously said he would sign the bills.

Del. Rodney Willett, and Sen. Creigh Deeds, say their bills would help eliminate the 50 percent of illegal, unregulated vapor and e-cigarette products currently being sold in the commonwealth. Both lawmakers said the bill’s intent are to also curb underage vaping, as no flavored e-cigarettes or vapes are currently authorized by the FDA.

“It’s a very serious situation and what this bill is intended to do is protect children,” Willett told the Virginia Mercury in an interview last week. “It’s to protect adults who are lawful consumers and then also the wholesalers and retailers themselves.”

Willett said the bills would create a registry of non-flavored products that can be sold in the Commonwealth. These products must be FDA-authorized or under the agency’s application process.

Both legislators said several businesses have sent them letters in support of the bill because they want to make sure they’re selling legal products. Willett said the businesses also “want to protect legal consumers from ingesting undisclosed, harmful chemicals that are found in the unlawful vaping products.”

Representatives from tobacco company Altria emphasized that the bill would clarify for retailers which devices they can and cannot sell. Altria spokesman Steve Callahan told the House of Delegates’ ABC and Gaming Subcommittee in February the legislation “is a common sense solution.”

However, opponents of the bill said it serves to only benefit big tobacco companies at the expense of small businesses and Virginians trying to quit smoking through vapor products.

Tony Abboud with the Vapor Technology Association said there are currently 13 million vapers across the U.S.. Yet, only six different types of FDA-authorized e-cigarettes are currently on the market. He said tobacco companies like Altria would reap the benefits from the legislation and compared the bill to a scenario in which all beer except for Bud Lite and Miller Lite are removed from stores.

“Bud and Miller would love it, right, because they are definitely going to pick up some more customers,” Abboud said.