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New Jersey characterizing flavors ban

New Jersey is Trying to Ban Flavored E-Liquid: Here’s Why We Need to Stop It

YA bill is poised to crush the vaping industry in New Jersey. The democrat-backed A3704/S298  intends to ban flavored e-liquid or cartridges that use a “characterizing flavor” other than tobacco, menthol and clove, all under the familiar guise of “protecting the children” from the supposedly evil vaping industry.


But there are a few huge, glaring problems with the proposal:


1) It probably won’t have a noticeable effect on youth vaping.

2) It will seriously impact hundreds of small businesses across the state and lead to many jobs lost.

3) It will make switching to vaping less appealing for smokers.


The good news is that it isn’t too late to do something about it. Here’s what you need to know about A3704 and what vapers can do to stop it.  


A3704: What it Says and Where it Stands


The bill itself can be described pretty simply: it extends the existing ban on “characterizing flavors” in combustible cigarettes to vapor products and liquids. This means that any cigalike cartridge or e-liquid sold in New Jersey could only contain tobacco, menthol or clove as a characterizing flavor, subjecting thousands upon thousands of e-liquid flavors to a complete sales ban.


“Characterizing flavor” covers any ingredient which “imparts a distinguishable flavor, taste, or aroma.” This is why cigarette additives and flavorings – of which there are hundreds – are not covered by the existing law, unless the amount added makes the whole cigarette taste of a fruit, herb, spice or pretty much anything else. That’s why it’s a “characterizing” flavor rather than just a flavor; it has to characterize the whole taste, not just be an unidentifiable component.


Anybody who violates the proposed rule would be fined $250 or more for the first violation, $500 or more for the second and $1,000 or more for the third and all subsequent violations.


The bill passed the state Assembly health committee on Monday, in a 7 to 2 vote with 2 abstentions, but it needs to pass additional committees in the Senate and Assembly before Governor Chris Christie can choose to sign it into law or veto it. You can track the bill on Legiscan.


Using Bad Science to Justify Harmful Restrictions


The arguments used to back the proposal are achingly familiar to vaping advocates. Herb Conaway, one of the bill’s sponsors, commented:


“…we’ve seen how nicotine companies carefully market their products to young, impressionable consumers in the hopes of attracting life-long customers. The appeal of electronic smoking devices is just as bad, if not worse, because the products are available in almost every candy-like flavor imaginable.”


The subtle shift from “tobacco companies” to “nicotine companies” tells you everything you need to know about the rationale behind this move. Presenting no evidence and ignoring any potential unintended consequences of the decision, they simply import the same old points and throw in some extra stuff about bubblegum e-liquid to get people riled up.


The bill text makes this obvious, because the arguments used to justify banning characterizing flavorings from deadly cigarettes have literally just had “and flavored electronic smoking devices” crammed into an appropriate place. This means, according to the state Legislature:


  1. E-cigarette flavors are “particularly attractive” to children.
  2. Public health experts say the existence of “these products” (now including vaping products) increases the incidence of tobacco use among children.
  3. Flavored e-cigarettes lead to increased tobacco use and addiction, with all the consequences that entails.
  4. Therefore, flavored e-liquids “pose a significant threat to the health of the general public.”


This incredible line of reasoning has one major downfall: none of it is supported by evidence. The narrative is familiar, but each link in the chain of reasoning falls to pieces under the slightest scrutiny:


  1. Youth who vape may like e-cigarette flavors, but the idea they’re “particularly attractive” to children – compared to the intended market of adult smokers – is tenuous at best.
  2. Combustible cigarette use amongst children and teens has fallen dramatically since vaping came onto the scene.
  3. The same again, but it’s also worth noting that most youth vapers don’t use nicotine, and the ones who don’t smoke only vape rarely.
  4. For the “general public,” groups like the Royal College of Physicians have looked at all of the evidence and concluded that e-cigarettes are unlikely to pose more than 5% of the risk of combustible tobacco, flavored or not.


But we’re not exactly holding our breath for politicians to be deterred by facts.


How it Would Crush New Jersey’s Vape Stores


The vape stores of New Jersey are one of two groups who would be seriously affected by this legislation. Some may be able to survive by restricting themselves to hardware, but e-liquid is the thing vapers need to buy the most often and is a huge financial lifeline for vape stores.


To understand why, you just need to look at the expenses for a vaper. After buying the base hardware (a mod or vape pen and a tank or two), the running costs are coils and e-liquid. A pack of five coils costs less than $15 – so $3 per coil – and each coil will last you two weeks or possibly even longer. At a juice consumption of about 5 ml per day, after two weeks you’d have consumed about 70 ml of e-liquid, priced at anywhere between $10 and $30 per 30 ml bottle. For 60 ml at an average price of $20 per 30 ml, this would equate to $40.


In other words, vapers will spend about 13 times more on e-juice than on coils, and that makes e-juice absolutely essential to any vape store.


You may protest that vape stores will simply sell tobacco, menthol and clove e-liquids and probably take in the same amount of money. But with no flavor bans in other states, what’s to stop a vaper from simply ordering his or her flavored e-juice online? Will New Jersey really be able to stop this from happening? What’s to stop an enterprising vaper from hopping over to New York or Philadelphia to stock up on flavored e-juice? Are they planning to search people at the state line?


The idea that flavored e-liquid will be effectively removed from New Jersey is basically absurd. But even if it wasn’t, would vape stores survive then? No, because the legislation will affect other people too…


How a Flavor Ban Would Negatively Affect the Smokers and Vapers of New Jersey


Adults like flavors too. It’s hardly breaking news, I know, but apparently this hasn’t occurred to the sponsors and supporters of A3704.


People don’t seem to understand why the vast majority of vapers class the range of flavors e-liquids are available in as “very important” for their ability to quit smoking and stay smoke-free. It shouldn’t be the sort of thing you have to explain, but a consumable product that comes in a wide selection of delicious flavors is preferable to one that only comes in a handful of not-that-exciting ones.


This is one of the major benefits of vaping compared to smoking. There are many vapers and just-switching smokers who enjoy tobacco flavors – particularly NET blends like ours – but there are a lot of vapers and smokers who usually go for the sort of sweet, fruity flavors that are subject to this impending ban.


This is something vaping offers that cigarettes simply can’t offer. Without the pungent, overpowering smoke to compete with them, the flavors really shine when you vape. Like the reduced cost of vaping, this is one of the factors that really appeals to adult smokers hoping to switch. Not to leave a stone unturned, another bill in the legislature would reduce the cost advantage too, by preventing vaping retailers from offering coupons or discounts on their products.


If New Jersey is successful in banning characterizing flavors and does choose to effectively increase the cost of vaping with the other bill, the end result would be fewer smokers switching to vaping and even – potentially – some vapers tossing their mods and going back to smoking. Vape store owners would see their consumer-base shrink along with their selection of products for sale.


Why A3704 Won’t Protect Children from Vaping


It is true that youth who vape usually like the flavors. But you’d assume that if they didn’t like the taste, they wouldn’t vape. What really matters isn’t whether youths like the flavors (because who doesn’t like the taste of strawberry milkshake?), it’s whether youths only vape because of the flavors. The issue is whether banning flavors will have any impact on youth vaping at all, and we have data that can inform our discussion of the issue.


One study in particular conveys an important point. This found that, when presented with yes-or-no choice, about four out of five youths who vaped said they liked the flavors. This is exactly the sort of result legislators like those in New Jersey use. But the same study also found that about four out of five say they vape because it’s less harmful than smoking cigarettes. And the same proportion (within confidence intervals, at least) said they vaped because it’s probably less harmful to people around them.


The take-away message is that there are many reasons youths vape. Youth vapers in the study also acknowledged many others, such as “to quit smoking cigarettes.” Flavors are just one of them. Given that almost all regular youth vapers also smoke cigarettes, do Herb Conaway and the bill’s other sponsors really think that banning flavors will stop youth vaping, despite having no impact on other – clearly more important – health-related reasons to vape? They seem to expect youth smokers to say, “Well, I think vaping is less likely to kill me than smoking, but if I don’t have my bubblegum e-liquid I’ll take the cancer, thank you very much!”


And even for the vapers who really are in it for the “fun” rather than the health reasons, is flavor the only thing driving the decision? Are we so sure that they don’t like the clouds? That they don’t want to enjoy an adult-like behavior and express their independence? That they aren’t also vaping so they can blow cool rings and do tricks?


With all these points in mind, it’s far from inevitable that experimenting teenagers are going to be deterred by arbitrary restrictions on e-liquid flavors. In fact, there’s every reason to expect that youth vaping will continue just as it did before the ban.


Why We Need to Stop A3704


A3704 is about to make it more difficult for New Jersey’s smokers to quit and will almost certainly put honest, hardworking people out of business. And for all the tough talk and bluster, it’ll probably do little-to-nothing to tackle the problem of youth vaping. But if you want consumer choice, the right to enjoy smoke-free nicotine products and reason to prevail, you can’t leave it to the legislators to sort out on their own: you have to get involved and make a difference.


Take Action


Vapers and store owners in New Jersey don’t have much time to act, but it isn’t too late.


If you’re a vaper, contact your local representative (who you can find here) and voice your opposition to this bill. If vaping helped you quit smoking, explain what role flavors played for you and how this change would impact on other smokers like you hoping to switch to vaping.


If you own a vape store, Gregory Conley from the American Vaping Association is encouraging you to contact your Assembly members and your Senator to explain how these rules would impact your business and likely leave your employees out of a job.

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.