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Debunking Vaping “Gateway” Claim and More! Tobacco Harm Reduction News

Debunking vaping “gateway” claim. The downside of banning flavors. Independent vape company gets a new investor. Senator Durbin makes no sense. Calls to Action and more!

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a link to the audio/video versions of this post!

CALL TO ACTION // New York Flavor Ban

Governor Kathy Hochuk is proposing to ban flavors even for the few, far safer tobacco and nicotine alternatives to smoking that are still legally available for sale in NY. This isn’t just a ban on menthol cigarettes! She’s also proposing another tax hike!

TAKE ACTION: New York – Stop a Flavor Ban!

CALL TO ACTION // Minnesota Flavor Ban

SF2123 was ultimately passed and referred to the Senate State and Local Government and Veterans Committee. The House companion bill, HF 2177 (Rep. Ethan Cha, DFL-Woodbury) has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

TAKE ACTION: Minnesota – Stop a Flavor Ban!

CALL TO ACTION // Nebraska Vapor Tax

LB 584, a 5c/mL tax on e-liquid scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, was pulled from the agenda, potentially for changes that may include a 20% wholesale tax which could mean a price increase from the original 5c/mL.

TAKE ACTION: Nebraska – Stop a Vapor Tax

CALL TO ACTION // Maryland Flavor Ban

SB 259 requires low risk, smoke-free alternatives–products used by millions of adults to quit/avoid smoking–to be flavored like tobacco, prohibiting even FDA-authorized flavors.

A hearing was held on Thursday, February 16, 2023 at 1 PM.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Maryland Flavor Ban

CALL TO ACTION // Hawai’i Vape Tax

HB 537 would subject vapor products to the state’s 70% tobacco tax.

Hawai’ians are encouraged to TAKE ACTION NOW!

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Hawai’i Vape Tax

CALL TO ACTION UPDATE // Hawai’i Flavor Ban

HB 551 will dangerously take away all non-tobacco flavors (including 0 mg vapes) from legal adults–many who use flavored low risk products to avoid relapsing to smoking!

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Hawai’i Flavor Ban

CALL TO ACTION // Connecticut Flavor Ban

HB 6488 would force adults who have switched to pleasant-tasting, low risk alternatives to smoking to go back to products that taste like tobacco or menthol. This bill already had one hearing on February 1st, 2023.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Connecticut Flavor Ban

CALL TO ACTION // New Mexico Flavor Ban

HB 94 had a hearing in the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee. If you live in New Mexico, please click the link below and TAKE ACTION NOW!

TAKE ACTION: Stop the New Mexico Flavor Ban

CALL TO ACTION // Oregon Flavor Ban

HB 3090 would ban the sale of nicotine and tobacco products in flavors other than fake “tobacco.” This prohibition would include everything from smoke-free nicotine pouches to vapor products and menthol cigarettes.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Oregon Flavor Ban

HEADS UP! // Illinois Public Vaping Ban

If you’re trying to reduce smoking harms, you don’t lie (ie. claiming vaping is a risk to bystanders) to take away important incentives for people who smoke to switch to far safer alternatives. Businesses should be able to choose!

READ MORE: Lawmaker Pushes to Ban Vaping Indoors

RESEARCH // Debunking “Gateway” Research

Expert rebuttal of a paper claiming to have shown a “gateway effect” from e-cigarette use to combustible cigarette smoking among US adolescents:

If a gateway effect from adolescent e-cigarette use to combustible cigarette smoking exists, it would necessarily be the case that, at the population level, increases in adolescent e-cigarette use prevalence would be followed by increases in adolescent smoking, or at least a slowing in the rate of decline of smoking. In other words, adolescent smoking prevalence would be increased over expectations from a counterfactual scenario in which e-cigarettes were not introduced….

In conclusion, the analysis by Harrell et al. is flawed and does not provide convincing evidence for the gateway at the population level.”

READ MORE: Comment On “Impact of the e-cigarette era on cigarette smoking among youth in the United States: A population-level study”

LEGISLATION // Flavor Ban Expands Illicit Market

Raise your hand if you think that it’s wealthy Bay Staters who are spending their hard-earned income on these “illegal” harm reduction products–or that these laws created ANY kind of “equity.”

READ MORE: Large increase in Massachusetts of year over year illegal tobacco busts

COMMENTARY // Massachusetts Flavor Ban Goes Badly

Last year, while detailing our new era of nicotine and tobacco prohibition for Reason, I wrote that “there is a real risk that American tobacco policy will open a regressive new front in the war on drugs, just as the previous crackdown on psychoactive substances begins to wind down.” By responding to the failures of its first-in-the-nation flavor prohibitions with a wish list for more police powers, this is the path Massachusetts appears poised to go down. States that wish to avoid making the same mistake should view Massachusetts as a warning, not a role model.”

~ Jacob Grier writing for Reason

READ MORE: Massachusetts’ Tobacco Ban Went as Badly as You’d Expect

TOBACCO INDUSTRY // Altria Buys Into Njoy

The purchase of NJOY gives Altria entry to the tiny realm of vaping products granted FDA marketing permission in the United States. NJOY sells two of the seven vaping devices authorized by the FDA. ~Reporting by CASAA director Jim McDonald for Vaping360

READ MORE: Altria Dumps Share in Juul, Buys NJOY for $2.75 Billion

TOBACCO CONTROL // The Goal of “Nicotine Freedom”

Tobacco treatment specialist Jill Selzle said, “If someone is already using nicotine pouches and has been able to quit tobacco, I would suggest weaning off them with the goal of nicotine freedom entirely.”

But what if that extremely low risk nicotine use actually helps them in some way and they don’t want “freedom” from it? What if “freedom” from nicotine would instead lead to behaviors that would be far more harmful to their health?

Of course, no article about low risk nicotine products would be complete without lying about flavors, and this one uses the standard rhetoric: “Much like the rise of vape culture, Zyn sells a variety of eye-catching flavors designed to appeal to younger consumers who are more susceptible to any potential negative health effects.”

READ MORE: MLB Players Turning to Nicotine Pouches Amid Tobacco Bans

TOBACCO CONTROL // Benefitting From “Underage” Tobacco Sales

According to the Wisconsin DHS, underage tobacco sales are “on the rise.” Except overall tobacco use (including nicotine vaping) among middle and high school students is at record lows nationally. Maybe the anti-vaping syndicate was actually happy that Tobacco 21 expanded their “war” on nicotine, when it made millions of 18-20 year old adults suddenly “underage?”

READ MORE: Underage tobacco use is rising, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services

TOBACCO CONTROL // Conflating Smoking with Other Nicotine Use

“…tobacco companies intentionally add menthol to cigarettes and other tobacco products to make smoking easier to start and harder to quit.”

And banning menthol and other flavored low risk, smoke-free tobacco and nicotine products that are vastly safer alternatives to smoking addresses this…how?

READ MORE: New York State Department of Health Warns About Tobacco Industry’s Tactics of Using Menthol Flavoring to Target and Addict Black & LGBTQIA+ Communities and Kids

TOBACCO CONTROL // Flavor Bans Clearly Just the First Step For Durbin

After applauding the FDA for rejecting low risk vape products in “kid-friendly” flavors, Senator Dick Durbin criticizes Altria for buying into one of the very few vape products FDA has authorized–which is only available in the one flavor he hasn’t complained is appealing to kids: tobacco.

TESTIMONIAL // Anecdote # 13,509

Donna is a grandmother who quit smoking after 40 years by switching to flavored vaping products. Non-tobacco flavors are now banned in her state, but she won’t be defeated!

What’s YOUR real story? Submit your testimonial today!

SUBMIT YOUR STORY: CASAA Testimonial Project

CASAA MEDIA // Spotify

CASAA’s podcast is on Spotify! Please give us a follow here:

CASAA IN ACTION // Twitter Spaces

The week we recap the Reagan-Udall sessions with Amanda Wheeler, Tim Andrews and CASAA CEO Alex Clark, who all presented to the panel about FDA’s issues regulating reduced-harm products. What grade would you give FDA? Also available on CASAA’s Spotify channel (above.)


If you missed the most recent CASAA Live show, check out the replay now! CASAA Live is on alternating Saturdays at 4:30 PM ET/3:30 PM CT/2:30 PM MT/1:30 PM PT on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter!

If you missed the last CASAA Live episode you can catch up NOW before the next show!

Last time on CASAA Live, CASAA CEO Alex Clark and Member Coordinator Kristin Noll-Marsh discuss what Brian King, the new Director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said (and DIDN’T say) about vaping during the Q&A he had on February 24, 2023 with Greg Conley and Allison Boughner of American Vapor Manufacturers.

TAKE ACTION // CASAA State Facebook Groups

Have you joined your CASAA State Facebook group yet? Check it out now! Click the link below, click on your state on the map, then click the “Join Now” button to go to your state’s group page. It’s as easy as that to stay updated on local happenings, meet local advocates and never miss a Call to Action in your state!

Don’t forget to also follow our official Facebook page at


CASAA STORE // Apparel and More

Show your support by shopping our store! Our president (and brilliant website/swag designer) Danielle has added some awesome new designs to CASAA’s apparel shop!


VISIT: CASAA Apparel and Swag Store

CASAA MEDIA // Podcast

Catch up on past tobacco harm reduction news with Alex and Logan on the CASAA podcasts on SoundCloud every Monday and now live on YouTube and Facebook every Saturday at 3:30 PM.