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Federal Appeals Court Rules That US Local And State Governments Can Impose E-Liquid Flavour Bans

By Patrick Griffin 19th August 2022 2 Mins


Local and state governments in the US have the power to ban flavoured vaping products, according to a new ruling from a federal appeals court.

The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals said there are currently around 300 state and local flavour bans across the country – with 100 of those in California alone.

Many of these bans were brought in to combat the country’s ‘youth vaping epidemic’ which is still regularly cited, despite data showing that the numbers of young people experimenting with e-cigarettes is declining.

The court ruled that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA) did not prevent states, counties and cities from imposing tougher sales regulations if they saw fit.

The 2-1 majority ruling upheld the flavour ban introduced in Los Angeles County in 2019. The appeal court held that Congress preserved for states a ‘robust role in regulating, and even banning, sales of tobacco products.’

It said that while the federal government alone can set ‘tobacco product standards’, state and local governments had the power to set their own requirements governing the sale of tobacco products and that included flavour bans.

Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke said:

“The TCA explicitly preserves local authority to enact more stringent regulations than the TCA itself.

“It carves out the federal government’s sole authority to establish the standards for tobacco products, while preserving state, local, and tribal authority to regulate or ban altogether sales of some, or all, tobacco products.”

Circuit Judge Ryan Nelson dissented and argued that the US Supreme Court had twice previously overturned sales bans on other federally regulated products.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta tweeted after the ruling:

“Every year, almost 500,000 people die due to tobacco-related disease. We must act to protect the health of our people.”

Meanwhile, a 2020 law banning the marketing of most flavoured tobacco products in California is currently on hold pending a public referendum in November.



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Patrick Griffin