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Massachusetts Flavour Ban Contributes to the State’s $10 Billion Black Market


Vaping products are electronic devices that people use to inhale vapor which contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. They are battery-operated, and they might be nicotine-free. Vaping products are getting more and more popular around the world, but some countries have banned vape products since they think they are dangerous. However, Most research shows that vaping products such as e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes. 

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Illegal Tobacco Task Force shows that the ban on flavored vaping products, which imposed last month, causes to grow the local black market. In December 2019, Bill H.4183 was approved by the vote of 127 to 31 and a %75 tax and flavor ban was brought. Moreover, this bill also allows police to seize vehicles where they find untaxed vape products. If a police officer discovers an untaxed vaping product, he/she may seize both the products and the ‘receptacle’ where it is found.

The use of vaping products is allowed in the state-licensed s” smoking bars”. However, it is more tragic than it might sound to those who do not use vaping products. Vapers use vaping products in everyday life, so only allowing the use of vaping products in smoking bars is not sensible.

Vapers Turning to Illicit Products

Testimony at the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Illegal Tobacco Task Force has revealed that the ban on vaping products will lead to “an increase in smuggling activity and black-market sales.” 

A retired special agent in charge of the New Jersey treasury’s office of the criminal investigation, Charles Giblin said, “I’m concerned that placing an added burden and tasking law enforcement with the enforcement of flavor bans will only stand to create a significant new black market, this includes both cross-state border smuggling and counterfeit tobacco”.

EVALI Is a Clear Example of the Risks in Consuming Illicit Products

The expansion of the black market is a great threat to public health, and The CDC had confirmed that the consumption of unregulated THC products that were purchased on the black market caused the outbreak of serious lung disease that is called EVALI. 

The CDC reported, “The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak”. 

As you can see, the ban that is brought to vaping products can cause other problems. Flavored e-cig users might respond to the ban on vape products in different ways. All of this information is pointing out that a flavor ban has caused the growth of the black market and people to use illicit products, and this affects the health of the public negatively. It is a fact that using vaping products such as snus and e-cigarettes are safer than traditional cigarettes and also illicit products.