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FDA E-juice flavor Ban

Is the FDA Going to Enforce Flavor Ban on E-Juice?

The recent positive news for vapers from the FDA had a bit of a concerning undertone. Scott Gottlieb spoke a lot about e-juice flavors that “appeal to kids” and is asking for input on the issue of how to regulate them. The deadline for PMTAs being pushed back to 2022 is good news, and the open acknowledgement of the value of tobacco harm reduction is great, but the animosity towards flavors is a sign of the same sort of narrative we’ve come to expect from US authorities on vaping.


If more local governments go the way of San Francisco and ban flavors other than tobacco and possibly menthol, the landscape for vapers could change significantly. We’re tobacco specialists at Black Note and so moves like this wouldn’t impact us or our e-liquids, but the same can’t be said of the majority of e-liquid companies, or most importantly, the smokers and ex-smokers who depend on them to stay smoke-free.  


The FDA and “Kid-Appealing” Flavors


The FDA gave vapers a bit of breathing space last week, but it’s still looking pretty grim on the whole. Along with the grandfather date (of mid-February 2007) staying put, and the PMTAs still being incredibly expensive and demanding an unholy amount of work with no guarantee of success, the familiar criticism that e-liquid flavors are intended to lure kids into vaping was a major feature of Gottlieb’s speech.


With future regulations in mind, the FDA is specifically requesting input on:


The role that flavors (including menthol) in tobacco products play in attracting youth and may play in helping some smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery.


Whether they’ll be reasonable about the role of flavors remains to be seen, but there is plenty of reason to be skeptical. The whole “kid-appealing flavors” issue is a key anti-vaping talking point, and it’s prominence in the speech suggests that the FDA is still taking it seriously. They might have taken a decisive step towards sanity on vaping overall, but the anti-vaping narrative is still at play behind the scenes.  


E-Liquid Flavor Bans: The (Bad) Solution to an Overblown Problem


San Francisco’s flavor ban is an example of the sort of policies that follow from this line of thinking. From next April you can no longer sell flavored e-juice in San Francisco, although residents can import it from elsewhere. This is intended to reduce youth smoking, but the truth is it probably won’t work.


There are a lot of reasons for this, but here are some key problems:


  • Most youth vapers are already smokers. Regular vaping among never-smoking teens is very rare, and most youth vapers are vaping for harm reduction purposes, not the flavors (although they do like the flavors too). Even if banning flavors did stop some of them from vaping, there is a risk they will return to smoking or just experiment with smoking instead.
  • Vaping isn’t a gateway to smoking. There is just no evidence for this. Even if a non-smoking teen did start vaping specifically for the flavors, the evidence we do have suggests that they wouldn’t even use nicotine, much less get addicted and then progress to something much more dangerous and less palatable. There is more detail on all of this here.
  • What is a “kid-appealing” flavor anyway? This issue is treated as obvious – gummy bear will appeal to kids but something like whisky won’t – but it really isn’t. In fact, the only study to ask this question found the opposite: kids were more interested in vaping single malt scotch flavored e-juice than gummy bear.
  • Smokers depend on the flavors to quit. We do have evidence that the range of flavors is really important for smokers trying to quit. Banning all but tobacco flavored e-juice would undoubtedly reduce the number of vapers successfully making the switch.


As the FDA’s request implies, key question that has to be answered is “do flavors encourage more smokers to quit than youths they encourage to start smoking?”


Anti-vaping campaigners might try to focus on the number of youths that start using “tobacco products” (including vaping) rather than smoking, but it’s clear that for public health, the key issue is combusted tobacco use, not nicotine use.


Regardless of your take on this, the sort of estimate we need is clear. How many youths start vaping just because of the flavors? How many of these then go on to become regular smokers? And how many smokers only successfully make the switch because of e-juice flavors? Are there any specific flavors that don’t appeal to youth but do help smokers quit? Are there any that do the opposite?


These questions aren’t easy to answer, but that is no escape route for regulators. If you’re proposing an action that could have an impact on the health of the population, you should consider the potential benefits and harms of your proposed action, and how likely they are. And most importantly, you need to base this all on evidence, not unsupported claims or what you instinctively feel to be true.


To the extent that these questions can be answered based on current evidence, the conclusion is clear. Flavors are a factor that can encourage youth to vape, but for non-smokers or never-smokers, the effect is limited at best. Very few never-smoking youth start vaping regularly, and there isn’t a single documented instance of someone starting to use nicotine through regular vaping and then progressing to regular smoking. It’s sure to have happened somewhere, but given all the interest in this issue, the lack of a single anecdotal report shows that it must be very rare indeed.


On the opposite side, there are tons of anecdotal reports that flavors – even those that people might feel would appeal to youth – do help smokers quit. There are surveys of vapers confirming the importance of flavors for quitting. Even if many vapers would have been able to quit without a specific flavor or type of flavor, there is much more reason to believe that banning flavors would have a negative impact on quitting rates than there is to believe it would reduce youth smoking.


On the whole, there is no reason to be positive about these policies. They’re ill-thought out and very likely to do more harm than good.  


Are Tobacco and Menthol Included?


There is a more fundamental issue with e-liquid flavor bans too: all e-liquid is flavored.


Much of the discussion of flavor bans treats tobacco e-juice as though it’s “unflavored.” This is obviously false: e-juice wouldn’t taste like tobacco unless flavorings were added or flavor was taken directly from tobacco leaf (like Black Note does). Any true “flavor ban” would leave only genuinely unflavored e-liquid and would ban tobacco and menthol e-juice too. But this (thankfully) doesn’t happen.


In legal terms, the issue is really about “characterizing flavors.” This was defined with cigarettes and actual tobacco-containing products in mind, and basically means anything which provides the dominant flavor for the product aside from the tobacco itself or menthol.


Even though vaping is totally different (tobacco isn’t the “default” flavor), these same standards are being applied to it regardless. If the rule had been written with e-liquid in mind, any exemptions and inclusions would have to be justified. You’d have to think about whether requiring a much safer product to taste like a more dangerous product is actually a good idea.


But that’s really just idle commentary. The reality is that such issues will be ignored: tobacco and (probably) menthol will be exempted from any e-liquid flavor bans because of the ill-informed assumption that they are the expected flavors for a “tobacco product.”


Black Note is Here to Stay: Supplying Vapers is What Matters…


Fortunately for fans of Black Note, we knew this was a possibility when we were first getting started. We want to make sure we’re always there to supply vapers with high-quality e-juice, and we’re ready to jump through any regulatory hoops and meet senseless flavor bans head-on.


More than anything, vapers need enjoyable flavors, and while many companies do a great job helping smokers quit with sweet, fruity and other non-tobacco flavors, their continued availability isn’t guaranteed. It’s a tragedy that smokers who need non-tobacco flavors to quit might not be able to get them, but whatever happens, it’s clear that smokers will still need enjoyable flavors for vaping to work for them.


That’s why we focused on providing top-quality tobacco and menthol flavors from the get-go. With such a huge spectrum of e-liquid flavors available, for many mixers tobacco and menthol are almost afterthoughts. Tobacco flavors rarely capture the complex, multi-tonal flavor of the real thing, and while many smokers instinctively choose tobacco flavors when they start, most quickly progress to non-tobacco flavors after being disappointed with what’s on offer.


If a characterizing flavor ban is pushed through in more localities – or even nationally – then most mixers will have a lot of catching up to do in order to make tobacco e-juices that can really compete. It will change the US vaping landscape significantly, and without high-quality tobacco e-juice, smokers will struggle to quit by vaping.


But at Black Note we’ve been perfecting tobacco e-juice for years, and whatever happens, we’ll be there to give smokers and vapers something enjoyable to vape.


…But Flavor Bans Still Must be Fought


We probably won’t be affected by flavor bans ourselves, but we will continue to oppose them wholeheartedly. Contrary to the supporters’ claims, they will likely have a negative impact on smokers and vapers overall. They will do little to reduce youth vaping and will undoubtedly hinder quit attempts from adult smokers.


Along with a few other things about the recent announcement, the focus on “kid-appealing” flavors from the FDA is a sign that there is a lot more work to do. The anti-vaping narrative may have taken a big hit as authorities increasingly move towards a more rational approach to regulation, but in many ways, its influence is still hard to avoid. As vapers and advocates, we need to tackle this narrative head-on and make it clear that flavor bans just won’t work.


We need to stand up for our right to vape, but most importantly, we need to stand up for the rights of all the smokers who haven’t made the switch yet. Black Note will always provide high-quality tobacco e-juice, but if we don’t make our voices heard, other companies will run into insurmountable road-blocks more quickly than we might hope, and ordinary smokers will be the ones who suffer.  

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Writer at Black Note
Lee Johnson is a writer and vaper from the UK. He started vaping in 2012, and since then has contributed to E-Cigarette Reviewed, E-Cigarette Direct’s Ashtray Blog and Vaping360. He strongly believes smokers need accurate information about vaping and other reduced-harm alternatives to smoking. He has a degree in physics from the Open University and a passion for all forms of science.
Lee Johnson

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What is Naturally Extracted Tobacco E-Liquid?

E-juice, also known as e-liquid or vaping liquid, is the liquid that’s placed in the vaping device and subsequently atomized into vapor. When you go to buy e-juice, you’ll notice it contains a mix of several ingredients. These typically include vegetable glycerin (VG), propylene glycol (PG), some type of flavoring, and nicotine.

VG and PG form the base of the e-liquid. VG is a component used in food and personal care products; its role in e-liquid is to create a thick, dense vapor. PG is another popular solvent used in a variety of everyday items. It carries the e-liquid flavor, provides the “throat hit,” and enhances the vaping liquid’s ability to soak into wicks or cartomizer materials.

Nicotine is an optional ingredient, often available in different levels. E-juice also contains some type of flavoring.

Black Note leads the pack of tobacco vaping liquid by using only natural flavoring – extract from real tobacco leaves to produce real tobacco taste. When you go to buy e-juice from other companies, you may find any number of chemicals used to create synthetic flavors that include fake strawberry, manufactured vanilla, and even man-made tobacco flavors.

If your aim when you buy e-liquid is to experience the subtle nuances, genuine flair and authentic taste of real tobacco, then you’ll be on the mark if you buy e-juice from the Black Note lineup.

Best E-Juice

When you’re going to buy e-liquid, it’s only natural you’ll want the best e-liquid. But what, exactly, does it “best e-juice” mean? We’ll tell you.

For starters, you’ll want an e-juice that doesn’t contain all kinds of strange chemicals and concoctions that you can’t even pronounce. True, even the best e-liquid will contain vegetable glycerin (VG) and proplene glycol (PG), which serve as the base of e-juice, but you don’t necessarily need a host of other chemical compounds.

The best e-juice will stick to natural ingredients, like real tobacco extract, rather than rely on synthetic flavorings, colorings and other additives. Diacetyl is one of those synthetic ingredients that has gotten a pretty bad rap, although its use is not all that uncommon for producing sweet e juice flavors.

Definitely read the ingredient list before you buy e-juice to ensure you recognize what’s on it. Better yet, see if the e-juice company offers a lab report to confirm what’s actually inside the e-liquid.

In addition to having as few chemical ingredients as possible, the best e-juice will have an amazing taste. For those who enjoy authenticity over imitation, the most amazing taste is the most natural taste, especially when it comes to tobacco. Since Black Note uses real extract from tobacco leaves, we not only avoid all those weird chemical flavorings, but we also produce the most authentic experience: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like tobacco.

Best E-Liquid on the Market

Anyone looking for the best e-liquid on the market need look no further than Black Note. Black Note tobacco vaping liquid ranks as the best e-juice across the board in every category, starting with the taste.

Black Note’s main claim to fame is producing a tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. That because we use real tobacco extract, not chemicals, to create the best e-juice tobacco flavor. Using extract from real tobacco leaves retains tobacco’s nuances and flavor notes, giving you the most authentic and multi-faceted tobacco experience.

In addition to being the best e-juice for tobacco taste, Black Note also has the best e-liquid manufacturing process. We spent years researching and testing various production methods, and finally landed on one that we believe is absolutely perfect.

It starts with growing carefully selected tobacco seeds, followed by an equally precise of steps that include an extensive natural extraction process. Even our bottling and packaging is done with the utmost care, using recycled and recyclable packaging materials to ensure our products are as earth-friendly as they are vapor-friendly.

One more category where Black Note ranks as the best e-liquid is with the value. Every order comes with free domestic shipping, one-to-three day domestic shipping guarantee, and a 90-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, or don’t agree we’re the best e-juice on the market, send it back on us and we’ll refund your money.

Vape Juice Ingredients

Vape juice ingredients can be pretty straightforward – or not. At the very least, most vape juice contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), and some type of flavoring. Nicotine has largely become an optional ingredient that can be included at varying levels or left out altogether.

Vegetable glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG) are usually the two main ingredients that make up the base of most vape juice.

VG is a plant-based substance with the ability to produce a dense, thick vapor. PG is an additive found in many food items and certain medicines. It carries the flavoring, provides the “throat hit” and enhances the vape juice’s ability to soak into the wicking materials.

Nicotine levels can vary, as can ingredients that make up the flavorings. The components that make up vape juice flavoring are where ingredients can get rather complicated.

Vape juice that relies on artificial flavorings can contain any number of extraneous chemicals and other additives, whatever it takes to recreate the flavor the ecig juice is going for.

Black Note uses only natural flavorings: extract from real tobacco leaves. That keeps our ingredient list incredibly simple, backed by a lab report to prove it. You won’t find any strange chemical concoctions used to produce our tobacco flavor, just real tobacco extract that delivers a real tobacco experience.

What is the Best Flavor for Ecig Juice?

From strawberry shortcake to banana rum, ecig juice comes in tons of flavors. While folks can debate and discuss all the fruity, sweet or food-like flavors all day long, the best flavor for e-cig liquid is straight-up tobacco.

Why? Vaping was originally created as an alternative for traditional cigarettes, mainly for those who enjoy the taste of tobacco. And when you can find an e-cig liquid that is able to recreate tobacco’s full-bodied yet delicate flavor notes and nuances, but without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, then you’ve found the best ecig juice.

Recreating tobacco’s complex flavor isn’t easy, especially when it’s attempted with artificial ingredients. That’s why Black Note sticks to the real thing, extracting the essence of real tobacco leaves to flavor our vaping liquid. Not only does this avoid the harmful chemicals in cigarettes, but it also eliminates the flavoring chemicals found in many ecig juices. The end result is real tobacco taste, an authentic tobacco experience and the best flavor for ecig juice you can find.

Notice also we said the best e-cig flavor was straight-up tobacco, not plain old tobacco. Black Note’s real tobacco vaping liquid happens to come in a variety of different blends, from the light and airy to the peppery and robust. Not all tobacco is created equal, and different blends capture the specialized subtleties that make each tobacco unique.

Best Sweet Tobacco E-Juice

When it comes to sweet tobacco e-juice, your options can be broken down into two categories.

The first category contains tobacco e-juice that overlays the tobacco flavor with artificial chocolate, caramel, vanilla, fruity or other dessert-like flavorings. We wouldn’t classify any such flavors as the best tobacco e liquid, simply because they typically use chemicals and other artificial ingredients to create the tobacco taste, the sweet taste, or both.

The second category of sweet tobacco e-juice is where you’ll find the best tobacco e-liquid, sweet or otherwise. This category contains vaping liquid created using only natural flavorings, which is exactly where Black Note fits in. Instead of concocting flavors using synthetic ingredients, Black Note uses an extensive extraction process that slowly and deliberately extracts the tobacco essence from real tobacco leaves.

The result is the best tobacco e-juice: tobacco vaping liquid that actually tastes like real tobacco. And if you’re going for the best sweet tobacco e liquid, we have a few tobacco blends that offer varying levels of sweetness.

Prelude is our sweetest tobacco e-liquid, containing golden Virginia tobacco. Made from fire-cured dark Virginia tobacco, Sonata is our Cavendish blend with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. Solo is our menthol blend, giving you a semi-sweet minty taste created from natural menthol crystals extract from dried mint leaves.

For the best tobacco e-liquid that’s naturally sweet and remarkably delicious, Black Note is at your service.

WARNING: Black Note products are not smoking cessation products and have not been tested as such. Black Note products are intended for use by adults of legal smoking age (21 or older in California), and not by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Black Note products contain nicotine, a chemical known to the State of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. Ingestion of the non-vaporized concentrated ingredients can be poisonous. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.