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New York City lawmakers vote to ban flavoured vaping products

New York City lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban flavoured electronic cigarettes after a lawsuit halted a statewide ban.

“We are acting to protect our kids by banning the e-cigarette flavours that have been hooking them for years,” Democratic City Council member Mark Levine said before the Council voted 42-2 to adopt the ban on flavoured vaping products.

Advocates for the vaping industry jeered and threw dollar bills from the balcony after the vote, and industry supporters said the ban will hamper efforts to curb smoking.

“All the New York City Council did today was make it harder for adult smokers to quit, shut down small businesses, and create a new black market that will inevitably lead to constitutional violations by the New York City Police Department,” Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said in a prepared statement.

The measure, which Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports, bans all e-cigarette and e-liquid flavours except tobacco. It is expected to take effect on July 1, 2020.

The legislation is likely to face a legal challenge. Spike Babaian, a vape shop owner and board member of the New York State Vaping Association, said the organization is “pursuing legal options.” A 90-day ban on the sale of most flavoured e-cigarettes that New York state health officials planned to start enforcing is currently held up after a state appeals court blocked that effort last month when vaping industry representatives sued.

Advocates for the e-cigarette industry say vaping products save lives by helping smokers quit.

Cheryl Richter, executive director of the New York State Vapor Association, said her group represents “hundreds of thousands of consumers who rely on vapour products to keep them from smoking cigarettes in New York.” She called the New York City bill “an overreaching infringement of their constitutional right to choose a product that improves their health.”

The move to ban flavoured e-cigarettes comes amid nationwide concern about the growth of teenage vaping and fears about health risks.

Republican President Donald Trump promised two months ago that he would ban most flavoured e-cigarettes but later backtracked. He said Friday that his administration would announce a plan to curb teen vaping “very soon.”

E-cigarettes first appeared in the U.S. more than a decade ago and have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry despite little research on their long-term effects.

Researchers generally believe they are less harmful to smoke than cigarettes, which kill hundreds of thousands of Americans annually, and they were initially promoted as a way to help tobacco users switch to something less harmful. But like cigarettes, they contain nicotine and are highly addictive. Many of the people starting to use them are teenagers who never previously smoked.

Forty-seven deaths linked to vaping have been reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though most of those sickened said they vaped THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. Officials believe a thickening agent used in black market THC vaping products may be a culprit.

State lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a ban last week on the sale of flavoured vaping and tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. The ban now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who appears likely to sign it.

A ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes was omitted from the New York City legislation after lobbying by advocates including the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has argued that a ban on menthol cigarettes could lead to harsh police enforcement in the black community.

 


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Juul halts U.S. sales of popular mint flavoured e cigarettes

Juul Labs said Thursday it will halt U.S. sales of its bestselling , mint-flavoured electronic cigarettes as it struggles to survive a nationwide backlash against vaping.

The voluntary step comes days after new government research showed that Juul is the top brand among high schoolers who use e-cigarettes and that many prefer mint.

“These results are unacceptable,” said the company’s CEO K.C. Crosthwaite, adding in a statement that the company must “earn the trust of society.”

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, one in four high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18.

Under fire for its alleged role in sparking the vaping craze among teens, Juul has made a series of concessions to try and weather a crackdown from local, state and federal officials. It stopped selling popular fruit and dessert flavours in stores last year, and last month, stopped selling them online, too.

Earlier, the company replaced its CEO and pledged to stop advertising its products. For years, Juul has argued that its e-cigarettes are intended to help adult smokers switch to a less harmful nicotine product. But its early marketing campaigns were mainly on social media and featured young, stylish models. The company subsequently shuttered its Facebook and Instagram accounts.

After halting mint sales, Juul will only sell menthol and tobacco flavours. Mint and menthol accounted for nearly 60% of the company’s retail sales in the past year, according to data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other flavoured e-cigarettes have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users. Federal health officials are expected to soon release plans for removing most vaping flavours from the market, and Juul has said it will support and comply with that government policy.

In September, President Donald Trump said the flavour ban would include mint and menthol flavours. However, no details have yet been released, leading vaping opponents to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Representatives for those groups immediately criticized Juul for not also pulling its menthol flavour.

“If they really wanted to keep the kids away they would also get rid of menthol,” said Meredith Berkman of Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes. “We hope the administration will understand that too _ they should be taking menthol off the market.”

Mint and menthol have often been treated interchangeably by vaping researchers.

But a new study released Monday suggests menthol doesn’t have the same appeal as mint. The study found that mint was the most popular flavour among Juul users in 10th and 12th grades and the second-most popular among middle-schoolers. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol. The study by University of Southern California researchers was based on a survey that included 1,800 Juul users.

Flavours have been banned from traditional cigarettes in the U.S. since 2009, except for menthol.

San Francisco-based Juul is the bestselling e-cigarette brand in the U.S. The privately held company has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general. The company is also being sued by adults and underage Juulusers who claim they became addicted to nicotine through the company’s products.

E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.


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Saskatchewan government introduces rules to ban vaping products for youth

Saskatchewan will be restricting the sale of vaping products such as e-cigarettes to people who are at least 18 years old.

Health Minister Jim Reiter has introduced amendments to the Tobacco Control Act to bring the products in line with existing tobacco legislation.

He says the changes will also prohibit the display of e-cigarettes in retail businesses where youth have access, restrict their use in and around public buildings such as schools and prohibit sales at amusement parks, arcades and theatres.

The amendments also restrict advertising of vaping products in the same manner as tobacco products.

The changes are to take effect in the spring.

The government says it believes the amendments will help lower the number of Saskatchewan youth using vaping products.

Anti-smoking groups say Saskatchewan’s decision means Alberta is the only province without legislation to control the consumption, sale and marketing of vaping products.

The Canadian Cancer Society is urging the Alberta government to move swiftly on new legislation to give Alberta children the chance to grow-up tobacco and nicotine-free.

“The rates of youth vaping have skyrocketed in the past few years and we are still waiting for effective legislation that will prevent tobacco and vaping companies from targeting youth,” Angeline Webb, a society spokeswoman, said in a release. “Protection delayed is protection denied.”

Health authorities across Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping.

Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.


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Ontario to ban promotion of vaping products in gas stations, convenience stores

Screen Shot 2019-05-31 at 9.16.36 AMOntario announced Friday it will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, a move critics said does not go far enough to protect the health of young people.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said she made the decision in response to new research that showed vaping is on the rise among youth in the province.

“That’s a big concern to me,” she said. “I know that is a big concern to parents and families and I’m concerned about the potential health effects the increase in vaping has brought forward so we are starting with this prohibition of advertising.”

Elliott said the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Ontario was set to ban the advertising of vaping products in convenience stores under the previous Liberal government but the Progressive Conservatives paused regulations that were to come into effect on July 1, 2018 shortly after they took office.

The province’s change of direction Friday comes as health authorities in Canada have begun to closely monitor reports of respiratory illnesses potentially linked to vaping. In the U.S., health authorities have reported 1,604 cases of vaping-related illnesses, including 34 deaths.

No single ingredient, electronic cigarette or vaping device has been linked to all the illnesses in the U.S., but most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana.

Last month, Elliott issued a ministerial order to public hospitals to report vaping-related cases of severe pulmonary disease.

“My responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of our young people and that’s why we’re moving forward now with this ban,” she said.

The province will still allow vaping to be promoted in specialty stores and cannabis shops, which are open to people aged 19 and older.

The government will make the change by amending a provincial regulation to bring it in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco promotion.

Ontario now joins seven other Canadian provinces that have introduced similar restrictions on vaping promotion.

A year ago, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco – which includes the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart & Stroke Foundation – asked the Ford government to ban display and advertising of vaping products in thousands of convenience stores across Ontario.

The groups said at the time that it would lead to increased nicotine addiction among teenagers, and on Friday its director applauded the move by the government.

“It’s pretty clear the government has looked at the evidence that has been published on youth vaping on how it’s growing in Ontario since they legalized promotion in retail settings,” Michael Perley said. “The evidence says they need to do more to stop messaging to young people … that these products are normal and just like candy and pop that kids go into convenience stores to look for.”

Perley praised the provincial ban as going further than current federal limits on advertising to youth, which he describe as too subjective. But he said the Tories should limit the sale of the vaping products to the hundreds of specialty shops which already exist across the province and have the expertise to help adult smokers.

“Smokers will get much better advice there than in a convenience store with line-ups and clerks who have never been trained on this issue,” he said.

NDP health critic Frances Gelinas said the Tories should never have paused the previous government’s bill to prohibit the practice.

“We’ve taken one tiny step,” she said. “But there are so many more steps that need to be taken to make sure that we don’t have this entire generation addicted to nicotine.”

Gelinas said the province should push forward with further reforms, including limiting flavours aimed at attracting children to vaping and limiting sales to specialty stores.

Health Canada has said vaping has risks and the long-term effects remain unknown.

The president of the Vaping Industry Trade Association said the voice of that sector has not been heard by the Ford government and called the ban “disappointing”.

Daniel David said the ban will prevent smokers from becoming aware of an option that is less harmful than tobacco.

“We strongly support measures that will restrict youth access, however this must be balanced to ensure that adult smokers still have access to these products,” he said in a statement.


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Montreal to ban stores from dumping unsold food

Montreal is hoping to stop perfectly good food from ending up in landfills as part of a plan to significantly cut waste by targeting the source.

The city’s point person on the environment announced the proposed measures Thursday as part of a five-year master plan for waste management between 2020 and 2025.

Coun. Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, the executive committee member in charge of ecological transition, cited an urgency to act due to climate change and the fact that the city’s main dump is slated to shutter by 2029.

“The plan that we’re proposing today will enable us to achieve the ambitious targets that we set in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and managing residual material,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

It doesn’t make sense, she said, that perfectly consumable items end up in the trash while children and others go hungry.

“We will prohibit large grocery chains, educational institutions and hospitals from throwing away food they no longer think is fresh,” Lavigne Lalonde said.

Food waste is a widespread issue across the country: according to a study commissioned earlier this year by Toronto-based charity Second Harvest, one-third of Canada’s discarded food could be recovered.

Quebec already has a supermarket recovery program in place that some stores take part in, sending food to various shelters. Lavigne Lalonde said the city wants to work with the province to ensure such programs are expanded.

The move is the latest in Montreal’s attempts to reduce its waste–and by extension, its carbon footprint. In April, the city announced it would introduce a bylaw banning single-use items such as plastics and polystyrene foam containers by spring 2020–promising a slow transition to allow businesses to make the switch.

In 2018, it issued a ban on plastic bags that covers the distribution of lightweight bags with a thickness of less than 50 microns as well as biodegradable bags, which contain an additive that causes them to decompose in heat and light.

Lavigne Lalonde said the goal is to make it easier for citizens to reduce their waste.

Parenteau said food sellers could be subject to yet-to-be determined fines if they violate the new rules.

He pointed to France, where laws obliges grocery stores to donate edible food and levies hefty fines if they don’t, but added in Montreal, that’s not the main goal of the law.

“The first goal is not to fine, but to change the mentality,” Parenteau said.

A public consultation will be held on the plan, but the city’s objectives are to divert up to 70% of residual waste away from landfills by 2025 and 85% by 2030.

In that time, the city wants to reduce the amount of waste produced by each Montrealer by 10% in 2025 and 20% in 2030–which works out to 10 kilograms per citizen per year.


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Convenience stores could benefit from e-cigarette ban, say analysts

A growing move to ban flavoured e-cigarettes due to health concerns particularly in youth could actually benefit convenience stores in the long run, say retail analysts.

“We believe the FDA’s plan to remove mint/menthol e-cig flavours (in addition to all other non- tobacco flavours) would without question encourage a return to combustible cigarettes,” Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities wrote in a report after conducting a survey of retailers.

A large majority of retailers surveyed believe the removal of e-cigarettes would migrate smokers to combustible cigarettes that represent a larger portion of convenience store sales.

One-third of retailers surveyed also expect mint and menthol smokers would switch to combustible cigarettes because those consumers tend to want to stick with menthol products.

Almost half of the retailers believe the removal of flavoured e-cigarettes won’t help to reduce youth usage as kids likely move to the black market. Yet some 40% of retailers say they are seeing some deceleration in Juul sales and nearly 20% are seeing more combustible cigarette sales as news reports increase about health issues with vaping.

Some U.S. states are moving to ban or curtail vaping but Herzog said she is “cautiously optimistic” that a complete ban on e-cigarette flavours will be imposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

In Canada, the country’s public health officer said last week at least three reports of potential vaping-related illnesses were being investigated.

Quebec health officials confirmed Friday the province’s first case of severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping. That followed a report from the Middlesex-London Health Unit that a teen from London, Ont., who was using e-cigarettes daily, suffered a severe case of pulmonary illness, the first confirmed case of vaping-related lung disease in Canada.

Herzoz added that 67% of retailers believe the removal of e-cigarette flavours would increase the competitive advantage of IQOS, a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative made by Philip Morris International that has received FDA premarket approval.

Even if e-cigarettes aren’t banned outright, large convenience store chains such as Alimentation Couche-Tard would be helped in the long-term by increased regulations of e-cigarettes because they have the ability to absorb the additional costs, wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Irene Nattel in a report.

“Given cost of compliance/administrative burden associated with regulated products…we’d expect chains with financial flexibility to gain share over time, not unlike what happened to breweries during the last century,” she wrote.

Tobacco represents about 38% of merchandise store sales at convenience stores and about 40.5% at Couche-Tard, Nattel said. However, electronic devices represent less than 25% of other tobacco products, which account for less than 20% of tobacco sales

Couche-Tard CEO Brian Hannasch said that while these products aren’t currently “material” to its revenues, the Quebec-based retailer hopes they remain available for adults to give smokers “an avenue of lower risk as they pursue nicotine.”

The company only sells closed vaping systems that already contain liquid, instead of ones that allow consumers to use their own liquids.

“We know there’s demand there but if flavours are attracting children we’re OK with it going away,” he told The Canadian Press after its recent annual meeting. “It’s the right thing for society and we just want it to be done on a thoughtful fashion and based on facts.”

 


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Nova Scotia to ban most single use plastic bags at store checkouts

shutterstock_1250226013e-360x240Nova Scotia plans to join a number of other Canadian provinces in moving to ban most single-use plastic bags at store checkouts.

The province’s majority Liberal government introduced the bill to ban the bags Thursday as the legislature session opened.

After it is proclaimed, the government said, industry will have one year to prepare before the bags are prohibited.

Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said he’s introducing the bill in the hope of removing millions of bags from the waste stream each year.

“It’s going to change the way Nova Scotians go to grocery stores,” he said after announcing the bill.

He added the bill is a signal the province is willing to consider the banning of other plastic items, such as single-use cutlery and straws.

“This legislation is an important piece that will help us move forward,” the minister said.

Under the proposed law, retailers would still be allowed to use single-use plastic bags for live fish and bulk items. There would also be exemptions for food banks and charities.

There is not a requirement under the act to charge a fee for alternatives to plastic bags, leaving the choice to retailers.

The director of the Ecology Action Centre, the province’s largest environmental advocacy group, welcomed the legislation, noting retailers and other provinces have already begun moving in this direction.

“Atlantic Canadian provinces probably appreciate more the impacts of plastics, particularly in our oceans,” Mark Butler said.

He noted that plastic bags are a relatively small proportion of the waste stream but they have a large impact on wildlife in the province.

“We look forward to the public and the government identifying other single-use items we don’t need to use.”

While many Canadian municipalities have banned single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retail outlets, provincewide bans are less common and more recent.

Manitoba’s government has promised consultations on moving toward a ban of single-use plastic bags. A ban in Prince Edward Island went into effect in July, and Newfoundland and Labrador introduced legislation to ban the bags last April.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in June that the federal government was starting regulatory work to ban harmful single-use plastics.

Retailers including the Sobeys chain have already promised to eliminate single-use bags.

One expert said the banning of plastic bags pleases consumers, but it’s not enough to effect real environmental change.

“Banning plastic bags is just a distraction – the real problem is food packaging. But at least governments are doing something about it,” said Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agrifood analytics lab at Dalhousie University.

“For Nova Scotia, the announcement is quite timely given the climate strike happening (Friday). My expectation will be to see all provinces make a similar announcement by June of next year.”

Charlebois said for further progress, stores also need to look at biodegradable and compostable solutions, while governments should fund research that will increase the use of green packaging solutions.

Jim Cormier, a spokesman for the Retail Council of Canada, said “overall, retailers are happy with this approach.”

He said having a single system in each province is the best scenario for grocery chains and other retailers, rather than a patchwork of municipal rules.

 


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Health organizations call for end to promotion of vaping products

Federal officials have to act right away to avoid further risks of serious illness from vaping, eight Canadian health organizations said Sept 19.

The groups are asking for an interim order from Health Canada to curb the marketing of vaping products, restrict the flavours available and regulate their nicotine levels.

Vaping products, the organizations say, should be treated the same way as tobacco products.

“Youth vaping has become a public-health crisis,” Dr. Sandy Buchman, president of the Canadian Medical Association, said at a news conference in Ottawa.

Thursday’s call comes after news of a serious vaping-related illness in London, Ont., as well as hundreds of cases in the United States, including seven deaths reportedly linked to vaping. Authorities are still struggling to determine what exactly has made vapers sick.

And on Thursday, Health Canada issued a statement advising vapers again to monitor themselves for coughs, shortness of breath or chest pain and to seek medical attention if they are concerned.

The coalition of health groups said an interim order would allow the government to put in place regulations for up to 12 months while permanent versions were drafted.

“Wasting time on this can only increase the risks to Canadians,” Buchman said.

The organizations are asking for all federal parties to commit to issuing such an order within 60 days of forming government after the Oct. 21 election.

The group includes the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Lung Association, Coalition quebecoise pour le controle du tabac, Heart & Stroke, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

The organizations recommended restrictions on advertising similar to those on ordinary tobacco, a ban on most or all flavoured products, and a nicotine restriction of 20 mg/ml of vaping fluid in line with European Union standards.

The groups shied away from calling for a full ban on vaping products, instead focusing on the surging rate of vaping among younger Canadians.

A survey done for Health Canada and published this year found that one-fifth of high school aged students reported using vaping products, as well as one-seventh of children aged 13 and 14.

Cynthia Callard, the executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, said vaping products have changed to become more addictive, attractive and accessible to youth.

“In short, tobacco companies are hooking kids on vape products in the same ways they used to hook their parents and grandparents on cigarettes,” Callard said.

Imperial Tobacco Canada issued a statement saying the solution to recent health concerns over vaping was “enforcement of existing restrictions on sales to youth and prohibitions on flavours appealing to youth” as well as regulations ensuring higher product quality and safety.

David Hammond, a professor at the University of Waterloo who has studied vaping in Canada, said the statement from the health groups emphasizes a consensus that “something has to be done” on vaping, especially on advertising, flavours and access for youth.

He said vaping can clearly be harmful, though less harmful than smoking, which is not saying much, he added.

Still, Hammond said there is some room for vaping as a means of helping people quit smoking.

“Can they help people quit? Yes. Are they an absolute game-changer? Not right now,” he said.

There is no doubt that the rate of vaping in Canada has increased “on every measure,” Hammond said.

He noted that legislation allowing the sale of vaping products coincided with the entrance of the company Juul into the market. That company “changed the chemistry to make it easier, more palatable to inhale very high levels of nicotine,” he said.

At the same time, the Canadian government “clearly opened (the door) too wide for advertising and promotion,” especially to younger Canadians, Hammond said.

He said restrictions on advertising, on at least some flavours and on sales were a good place to start, but cautioned that vaping will be a tough challenge for governments.

“These are here to stay,” he said, flagging the vaping of cannabis as the next issue.

Juliet Guichon, a professor at the University of Calgary, echoed the view that Canadian legislation does not address youth vaping with enough seriousness.

“I think (the government) didn’t realize at the time what was going to happen,” she said.

She floated a few ways of reducing vaping among minors, including requiring retailers to ask for identification from purchasers, and potentially raising the age required to buy vaping products to 21.

On Sept. 18, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said Health Canada would look at several kinds of regulations for vaping, but had not yet committed to any changes.


Mint, menthol: Vape industry has dug heels in on flavour bans

Efforts to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and reduce their appeal to youngsters in the United States have sputtered under industry pressure in over a half-dozen states this year even as one state, Michigan, moves ahead with its own restrictions and President Donald Trump promises federal ones.

In many cases, the fight by the industry and its lobbyists has focused on leaving the most popular flavours – mint and its close cousin, menthol – alone. But public health experts say that all flavours should be banned, and that menthol can still hook kids on vaping.

The proposal Trump outlined Sept. 11, which would supersede any state inaction, includes a ban on mint and menthol, and an industry giant quickly indicated it would capitulate.

“We strongly agree with the need for aggressive category-wide action on flavoured products,” read a statement released by Juul Labs Inc. “We will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.”

But the fight in state legislatures has been fierce. Lobbyists for the vaping and tobacco industry fought bans on flavours in Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New York, Maine and Connecticut.

Such bans failed or stalled, even as Michigan’s governor this month ordered emergency rules prohibiting flavoured e-cigarettes. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed a desire to ban flavoured e-cigarettes.

Trump’s federal proposal, as it stands, would require no congressional approval, meaning lobbying efforts to defeat it could be less effective than in state legislatures. Juul spent $1.9 million in the first half of the year to try and sway the White House, Congress and the Food and Drug Administration.

The Vapor Technology Association has reported spending $78,000 this year in its lobbying fight against California’s proposed flavoured e-cigarettes ban, while one of the world’s largest tobacco producers, Altria, reported spending over $100,000 last fall solely to lobby such legislation. The bills have since stalled.

Reynolds American, which sells Vuse Alto e-cigarettes, reported spending $240,000 on paid lobbyists in New York this year. At least $23,000 alone went to fund their lobbying push against a flavoured tobacco ban that failed to pass this year.

Altria, which is also Juul’s biggest investor, also spent over $70,000 in Maine alone this spring on an online social media and email campaign in its efforts to defeat a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes and all tobacco products, according to lobbying reports filed with state ethics officials. Maine still has no flavour ban.

The global e-cigarette and vape market was valued at as much as $11 billion in 2018. The rise in teen vaping has been driven mainly by flavoured cartridge-based products such as Juul, which controls roughly three-quarters of the U.S. e-cigarettes market.

The proposals and the lobbying fight come as health authorities investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices. No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified, though many cases involve marijuana vaping.

Supporters of flavours argue that adult cigarette users say flavours helped them quit, and that legislators should instead focus on companies that are trying to hook young nonsmokers with clearly kid-friendly marketing and packaging.

“One of the things that we are finding is that state legislatures are reflexively reacting to media stories and without a scientific basis making determinations that flavours are the problem so we need to get rid of all the flavours,” said Tony Abboud, president of the Vapor Technology Association.

There had been concern that the tobacco and vaping industries were winning their fight to keep at least the most popular flavours _ mint and menthol _ in play. That concern has now been tempered by Trump’s announcement that his ban would include menthol and mint.

Last November, the FDA announced plans for a crackdown that could lead to federal regulators pulling all e-cigarette flavours besides menthol and mint – thought to be useful to adult smokers – from shelves. The FDA also said it would also seek to ban menthol cigarettes.

The FDA’s announcement came just two days after Juul announced the halting of in-store sales of mango, fruit, creme and cucumber flavours in retail stores.

The company’s CEO has said that Juul never intended for young people to use their products but that they are “sensitive” to concerns raised by the FDA.

And a spokesman for Juul, Ted Kwong, said before the announcement by Trump that the company would support an outright ban on flavours that mimic kid candies, foods and drinks.

Still, in line with the FDA’s proposed policy, Juul Labs still distributes mint, menthol and tobacco flavours in retail stores. The company also sells flavoured products through its website.

Anti-tobacco and -vaping groups say there’s no scientific basis for leaving menthol or mint alone. They warn menthol has been unethically marketed toward African Americans, and that such flavours can still increase the appeal of e-cigarettes for young people who aren’t smokers by overcoming the harshness of nicotine.

“Anything that is overcoming the harshness of tobacco flavouring is something that kids are going to find more appealing,” said Hillary Schneider, director of government relations in Maine for the American Cancer Society Action Network.

But banning minty flavours has been politically contentious.

In Maine, convenience store owners upset by a proposed flavour ban argued that mint, wintergreen and menthol represent 30% of flavours offered in stores statewide and $32 million in tax revenue.

Lawmakers then considered a tweak to only allow menthol, mint and wintergreen flavours. Maine ended up passing a bill _ backed by the tobacco and vaping industries, as well as small retail stores _ that instead makes it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to people under 21 and give them to minors under 16.

Officials in Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration discussed exempting mint and menthol flavours from the e-cigarette ban, but “determined that the action taken was the best path forward to protect youth,” said Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

A court challenge is expected for Michigan’s ban.

Abboud argued before Trump’s decision that states should hold off on further action for now.


B.C. wants feedback on plans to ban, reduce and recycle plastics

The British Columbia government is proposing action on reducing plastic pollution and is asking for the public’s input in an online survey.

Environment Minister George Heyman says the message from residents is clear that action is needed to reduce plastic waste, especially single-use items like water bottles and plastic bags, to prevent them from finding their ways into the environment.

The considerations include bans on single-use packaging, requiring producers to take responsibility for more of their plastic products and expanding the deposit-refund system to cover all beverage containers.

Brock Macdonald, CEO of the Recycling Council of British Columbia, says the provincial system is already the envy of North America and by bringing industry to the table and extending producer responsibility, recycling can become even more efficient.

The mayors of Victoria, Tofino, Squamish and Rossland, communities that have all made strides to reduce the use of such plastic items, issued a joint statement saying they’re pleased the province has launched the consultation process.

The B.C. Court of Appeal tossed out Victoria’s ban on single-use plastic bags earlier this month, saying such a ban would require approval from the Ministry of Environment.