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San Fran Flavor Ban

San Francisco Approves Flavored E-Liquid Ban, But It Won’t Reduce Youth Smoking

Vapers and smokers in San Francisco will find it harder to find their favorite e-juice flavors from next April. Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance which bans the sale of flavored e-liquids, menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars and more. Unsurprisingly, the decision was justified based on the idea that “flavored tobacco products promote youth initiation of tobacco use,” but no consideration whatsoever was given to the committed smokers who are only able to quit using flavored e-liquids. As always, the cries to “think of the children” seem to prevent lawmakers from thinking of anybody else.


The New Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products


The new ordinance is set to amend the Health Code to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products. Unlike in the Federal law banning characterizing flavors in cigarettes, the new San Francisco law includes menthol cigarettes, but it goes much further by also imposing a ban on flavored e-liquids, flavored cigars, flavored smokeless tobacco and flavored “shisha” tobacco used in hookah pipes.


The ban was approved by the Board of Supervisors very shortly after it was recommended by the public safety committee, and will be voted on in the coming week by the city board. Given how quickly the ban was passed and the complete lack of consideration of possible unintended consequences, it’s almost certain to be put into law. If this does happen, the rule will be in force from April next year.


In the “background information” section of the text of the ordinance, the rationale behind the move is explained:


Flavored tobacco products promote youth initiation of tobacco use and help young occasional smokers to become daily smokers by reducing or masking the natural harshness and taste of tobacco smoke and thereby increasing the appeal of tobacco products.


It also points out that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., and that every day 2,500 U.S. children try their first cigarette. The problem is certainly a serious one, but is the solution really as good as they think it is?


Will the New Law Help Reduce Youth Smoking?


As we’ve covered in detail elsewhere, there is no evidence that banning flavored e-liquid will have any impact on youth smoking rates. The reasoning depends on several steps, and all of them are poorly-supported by evidence or just don’t make much sense.


  1. Flavored e-liquid would have to cause youths to vape: For the ban to accomplish anything, flavored e-juice would have to be responsible for teens starting to vape. Although teens do like the flavors, it’s far from clear that it’s the only reason they vape.
  2. It would have to cause a lot of never-smoking youths to vape: A teen who already smokes trying vaping isn’t really a big deal – if anything, it’s a good thing if it helps them quit smoking. The concern is really about teens who don’t or have never smoked. But evidence consistently shows that only one or two out of every thousand never-smoking teens vapes regularly.
  3. Teens would have to get addicted to nicotine because of it: To end up smoking, youths would likely have to get addicted to nicotine. The only problem is that all the evidence we have on this suggests that most teen vapers don’t even use nicotine.
  4. Addicted teens would have to progress to smoking: This is the gateway effect. There are a multitude of issues with this, but the biggest is that there is no evidence at all – not even a single case report – of never-smokers starting to vape regularly and then progressing to regular smoking. And arguably more importantly, switching from vaping to smoking doesn’t make much sense. Why would you switch to a more harmful, much worse-tasting product, all for the same substance?
  5. They wouldn’t have started smoking otherwise: Even if they did move from vaping flavored e-juice to smoking, it’s not clear what would have happened without e-cigarettes. Would the teens have never started smoking, or were they doomed to smoke regardless of whether they tried vaping? Again, there is no evidence on this point. Without a flavored e-juice to try, instead they could well just reach straight for the cigarettes.


Every step in this is poorly-supported by evidence, if there’s any at all. The truth is that this move is entirely based on assumptions. They assume kids only vape because of flavors, they assume they’re getting addicted to nicotine, and they assume this will lead them to start smoking in the future. Never mind that the youth smoking rate has been plummeting amid the rise of vaping, and never mind that the number of never-smoking teens who start vaping regularly is absolutely tiny.


The idea that this ham-fisted legislation – based solely on debunked or unsupported anti-vaping talking points – will have any impact at all on youth smoking is laughable. In fact, by reducing the availability of vaping products, it could well have a negative impact. Despite all the concern about the 2,500 teens who start smoking every day, they apparently didn’t consider whether this legislation is crushing one of the most promising approaches to reducing that number.


How Will the New Law Impact Smokers and Vapers?


So if it probably won’t have an impact on the youth smoking rate, but what will it do for adult smokers and vapers? If anything, the answer is “harm them.” 


The potential unintended consequences are obvious. By making it harder to get hold of flavored e-liquids – which users consider “very important” for quitting smoking – the new law poses a clear risk of reducing the effectiveness of vaping for those who need it. It puts up barriers, justified by “protecting the children,” but doesn’t even consider who the barrier will be an issue for.


The good news is that San Francisco’s smokers and vapers will still be able to order flavored e-liquids from the internet. As Regina Dick-Endrizzi from the San Francisco Office for Small Business explained:


The law does not prohibit individuals from online purchases or utilizing delivery apps of businesses outside San Francisco; it does prohibit the sale and delivery of those products by San Francisco businesses.


So you will still be able to buy flavored e-juice from out of state, so any committed vapers or smokers serious about quitting will still have access to the products they need. Tobacco-flavored e-liquid will still be available – which seems silly given that tobacco flavor has to be added to e-juice – but it doesn’t take long for even new vapers to want to branch out to other flavors.


The biggest issues come for the smokers who aren’t as committed or who aren’t comfortable ordering products online. What about the aging smokers who might stop into a vape store close to them out of curiosity? Instead of having a range of enjoyable e-juices to offer them, they’ll have near-bare shelves only containing tobacco flavors. For all of those smokers who only quit thanks to flavored e-juice, this just won’t be good enough.


And that’s if the vape stores even survive…


Is This the End for San Francisco Vape Stores?


E-liquid is a big money-maker for vape stores. It’s the thing you need to buy most often as a vaper, and in California – the home of so many excellent juice companies – flavored e-liquid is absolutely essential to the business. As things stand, from next April vape stores will no longer be able to do this in San Francisco, and staying in business will become increasingly difficult.


Vapers and smokers who are looking for the best e-liquids will no longer have the option of supporting local business, unless they’re happy to stick to tobacco flavors. The reality is that most will shop online for juice, and since hardware and other vaping gear is likely to be available from the same place, there will be much less motivation to go to a brick-and-mortar vape store.


For San Francisco-based e-juice companies like Velvet Cloud Vapor, the decision is absolutely devastating, and will likely mean either relocating or closing down altogether. Even if they could survive the FDA regulations, they cannot survive an outright ban on their main product in the place they conduct business.


The unavoidable truth is that this legislation is going to be absolutely devastating to the vaping industry in San Francisco, and if other places in California follow suit – which they’re certainly considering – the new rule could be the catalyst for a chain of events that kills the industry state-wide or even further afield. And all for what?


When Politicians Put Feelings Before Facts, We All Suffer…


This legislation is a perfect example of a “feel-good” policy that is very unlikely to have any real-world positive effects. In fact, it’s much more likely to discourage quitting from San Francisco residents and may even lead some vapers to go back to smoking. Politicians get a lot of positive attention for “standing up to the industry” and “protecting the children,” but precious few people actually care enough to look at the facts with an open mind. This isn’t protecting the children; this is banging the anti-vaping drum for the sake of banging it, no matter who it hurts.


…But it Can Still be Stopped


The only silver lining is that it isn’t too late to stop it. As CASAA points out:


San Francisco has done a shameful thing, but there is still time to fix it. In the months leading up to implementing the flavor ban, there is still an opportunity to pass an exemption for low-risk tobacco and nicotine products. Considering the rate at which studies about tobacco harm reduction are emerging, it is possible we will have more evidence to support an exemption. Unfortunately, while we wait for the Board of Supervisors to come to their senses, hundreds of San Francisco residents will continue to smoke past a point where switching to a low-risk alternative could have saved their lives.


They’re urging vapers to contact the Board of Supervisors to oppose this harmful, disproportionate legislation before it’s too late.

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.