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Washington County, OR – [Concluded] Stop a Flavor Ban!
03/11/22 – Referendum that would repeal Ordinance 878 (Flavor Ban) accepted for the ballot on May 17, 2022
11/03/21 – Board votes 3-2 in favor of the ordinance. The ordinance takes effect in 30 days, while enforcement will start on Jan. 1, 2022.
11/02/21 – Public Hearing on amended ordinance.
10/19/21 – BOC Regular Meeting, Public hearing and Vote anticipated. [Update – BOC voted to include an amendment to ban sales of vapor and other smoke-free nicotine/tobacco products in flavors other than tobacco]
09/30/21 – [In the news] “Washington County considers flavored tobacco, vape ban.” Regal Courier.
The Washington County, OR Board of Commissioners has passed and ordinance that prohibits sales of flavored nicotine products (synthetic or tobacco derived) in any retail environment. What started as a proposal to limit sales of flavored products to adult-only establishments is now a full-blown flavor ban and a prohibition on discounts and coupons.
This Call to Action is concluded, but Washington County residents are still encouraged to continue educating their officials about the benefits of low-risk alternatives to smoking. Flavor bans will need to be revisited in the future and lawmakers need to be prepared to accept the change.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this action.
- Urge County Commissioners to reject the flavor ban ordinance, which would restrict your ability to use low-risk alternatives to smoking.
- 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.
- Briefly, discuss what losing access to a local supply of vapor products will mean for you (Will you shop out-of-state, in neighboring cities, or online? Will you make your own e-liquid at home or purchase products on an underground market?).
- 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. An estimated 95% to 98% of vapor manufacturers were not able to afford this process.
A second deadline, September 9, 2021, when the FDA was expected to approve and deny products has also passed. While the FDA has issued hundreds of marketing denial orders (MDOs) for millions of products, the agency has yet to authorize any of the products that are left. While this may sound bleak, there is still hope that the FDA will allow the sale of something in a flavor other than tobacco.
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 approving 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 a modified risk order.
Washington County’s flavor ban 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 and a published study on San Francisco suggest that many people who were vaping prior to the flavor bans simply returned to smoking. While a flavor ban may be an inconvenience for teens trying to get their hands on nicotine, it is actively harming parents who are trying to quit smoking.
03/11/22 - A referendum to overturn the flavor ban in Washington County has been approved for the ballot in the May 17, 2022 election.