Mt. Baker Vapor Discontinues Almost 200 Flavors Due to Impending WA Regulations
By Lindsay Fox Posted March 23, 2015
With harsh e-cig regulations in the pipeline in Washington state, Mt. Baker Vapor has opted to cull a large number of e-liquid flavors, in case each flavor will need to be individually certified for sale. This is a pre-emptive move, but with 190 flavors on the chopping block, it’s a firm reminder of the impact irrational legislation can have on vapers and the companies that supply us. At present, the Washington legislation plans to introduce a 95 percent tax on e-cigs, ban e-liquids with “characterizing flavors,” put unique labeling requirements in place and ban online sales. For the Washington-based Mt. Baker, the bill is understandably unwelcome.
HB 1645: Anti-Vaping Propaganda Working it’s Magic
The overall argument put forwards by HB 1645 is basically what you get if you throw every piece of anti-vaping propaganda into a blender, mix in a good dash of credulous stupidity and then present what comes out of the other end as well-established fact.
Within the document are claims that vaping is rising at an “alarming” rate among youth and adults, that there are carcinogenic compounds in e-cigarette vapor (of course, without any comparison to the amounts in cigarettes), that nicotine (rather than smoking) is as addictive as heroin, that there is “no scientific evidence” that e-cigs are an effective “long term” quit-smoking strategy, that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, and you get the picture.
We’ve covered all of these arguments previously, and won’t needlessly rehash things we all know, but the tl;dr version is: current evidence indicates that e-cigarettes are vastly safer than cigarettes, almost all regular users (adult or youth) are current or ex-smokers, all detectable toxic components during ordinary use are in tiny quantities and they are indeed well-supported as a quitting strategy, although there has been insufficient time for “long term” quitting (or safety) studies to be conducted.
After laying out the “facts” as they see them, the bill proposes a massive 95 percent tax on e-cigarette products, pretty much doubling the cost of e-liquid and devices (and diminishing the financial benefits of switching for smokers in the process), banning all online sales to Washington vapers, imposing labeling requirements and banning all flavored e-liquid sales, aside from tobacco and menthol-based options. In a sentence: the proposal will crush the e-cigarette industry in Washington. It goes without saying that local vape stores, manufacturers and vapers are strongly opposed to the legislation, and they were out in force at last Monday's public hearing. The bill is set to come into effect from the October 2015, if it goes through.
Mt. Baker Vapor’s Flavor Cull
In the wake of these likely industry-crippling proposals, Mt. Baker’s choice to discontinue a large number of flavors seems like an under-reaction, if anything. If all “characterizing” flavors really are banned, despite their size and popularity, Mt. Baker Vapor is going to have a tough time, along with any other vendor or manufacturer based in Washington.
They're cutting out 190 of their least popular flavors (full list here), which they frame as being in case flavors end up needing to be individually approved for sale. Even in that case, since Mt. Baker Vapor offers a bewildering array of flavors (too many, if anything), they’d still have quite the job on their hands getting the necessary approvals. If the bill goes through in it's current form, this could just be the first step towards phasing out all blends that aren't tobacco or menthol to fall in line with the law, so it could also be them preparing for the worst case scenario.
A Sign of Things to Come?
So – depending on whether the bill passes – Washington vapers are on the verge of having to pay twice as much for their e-liquid and losing the flavors that are central to the success of e-cigarettes for helping smokers quit. For Mt. Baker loving vapers, the legislative pressure may have cost them their favorite flavor, and for all vapers in the U.S. and around the world, the news is likely a depressing sign of things to come. If such irrational legislation becomes the norm – and it definitely seems to be heading that way – vapers could lose the products that helped them kick their combusted tobacco habits for good. Even worse, smokers yet to make the switch would be unable to get an e-liquid that doesn’t try (and generally fail) to evoke memories of some form of combusted tobacco or another.