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Rhode Island – Fight More Flavor Ban Legislation!
04/05/22 – All bills held for further study.
04/01/22 – All bills rescheduled for a hearing on April 5, 2022, Rise of the House, H. Committee on Health & Human Services, Room 101 – State House.
03/28/22 – All four bills have been removed from the 3/29 HHS Agenda.
03/25/22 – All Bills (H7805, H7869, H7870, and H7871) scheduled for public hearing on 03/29/22, H. Health and Human Services Committee.
03/03-04/22 – All bills introduced
Four bills that would ban the sale of flavored vapor products (H7805, H7869, H7870, and H7871) have been held over for further study following a committee hearing on April 5.
These bills are still active and can be called up at any time during the remainder of the 2022 legislative session, which ends on June 30. While there is less urgency to share your opposition to the flavor ban with officials, it is always an appropriate time to voice your concerns.
Even though a RI Department of Health rule banning sales of flavored vapor products has been in effect since 2020, opposing this legislation is vital to keeping it from being enshrined in state law.
In the face of solid evidence that the flavor bans in Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts are merely creating new problems–which include fuelling a robust underground market–sponsors of these bills are doubling down on a failing health department rule that’s been in place since spring of 2020 following an outbreak of lung injuries caused by illicit THC cartridges.
Please take action prior to the hearing by making contact with committee members and urge them to oppose these bills. At the moment, it is unclear if any of these bills will be amended to allow for some retailers that meet certain conditions to continue selling flavored products. If changes are made, be prepared to support one or some of these bills.
- Urge committee members to reject H7805, H7869, H7870, and H7871, which would restrict your ability to use low-risk alternatives to smoking and send people back to smoking or to buy their vapor products from informal sources.
- Briefly, share your story about switching to vaping and what role that flavors play in helping you live smoke free.
- Note any health changes you’ve experienced..
- Be brief, Be kind, and Say Thank You 🙂
For those new to vaping or just generally unfamiliar with federal regulations, the premarket tobacco application (or PMTA) deadline was September 9, 2020. This application is required to keep or bring new tobacco/nicotine products on the market. It is estimated that 95% to 98% of vapor manufacturers will not be able to afford this process and will not be capable of filing on time.
But 98% is not 100% (as the antis are fond of saying).
The FDA has already approved some new tobacco products that are being sold in flavors other than tobacco (specifically mint, menthol, and wintergreen). In the weeks prior to the September deadline, the FDA accepted for review several applications for bottled e-liquid in flavors ranging from tobacco to cereal to fruit. Despite the rhetoric from certain members of congress and the incessant pro-drug war drum beat of tobacco prohibitionists, FDA is still capable of authorizing flavored smoke-free nicotine products for market. Moreover, FDA may even allow manufactures of these products to market them as safer than cigarettes, if they apply for and receive a modified risk order.
Two of the bills in Rhode Island would undermine any decision by the FDA to allow low-risk flavored tobacco products on the market after having met the “appropriate for the protection of public health” standard. Even without involving the FDA, flavor bans are being enacted without thorough consideration of the negative consequences. Sales data from Massachusetts and New York suggest that many people who were vaping prior to the flavor bans simply returned to smoking.
While Rhode Island’s existing flavor ban amounts to an inconvenience for teens experimenting with substance use, it is actively harming parents and other adults who are trying to quit smoking.
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