In January 2020, the FDA finalized a ban on certain types of vaping products with the hope that the ban would curb teen vaping by making e-cigarettes less attractive to youth. In surveys, underage vapers – who almost exclusively use the pod-based e-cigarette, JUUL – have routinely said that the availability of appealing flavors is one of the primary reasons why they choose to vape. With that in mind, the federal government has banned all e-cigarette pods and cartridges in flavors other than tobacco and menthol.
With time, we’ll find out whether the flavored pod ban will really reduce the number of teens who vape. In the meantime, though, the ban does have a major drawback in that it is also a massive inconvenience to the millions of adult vapers who also use JUUL, Vuse, Blu and other pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes. Tobacco and menthol e-liquid flavors aren’t just unpopular among kids; adults overwhelmingly prefer other flavors
If you’re an adult vaper who prefers non-tobacco e-liquids, you have a simple alternative if your favorite JUUL flavor is no longer available: You can simply buy bottled e-liquid. There is a second option, though, that you may not have considered. The next time you shop at E-Cigarette Empire
or another vape shop, you can try some disposable e-cigarettes. That’s right – the flavor ban covers rechargeable e-cigarettes with removable pods and cartridges, but it doesn’t cover disposable e-cigarettes. In getting tough on teen vaping, the Trump administration has Made Disposable E-Cigarettes Great Again.
What Is a Disposable E-Cigarette?
A disposable e-cigarette is a vaping device – usually one that’s small and easily pocketable – that comes out of the package charged, filled with e-liquid and ready to use. You can unpack a disposable e-cigarette and start vaping immediately. A disposable e-cigarette usually lasts for around 200 puffs, which is about the same amount of use that you’d get out of a pack of tobacco cigarettes. When it stops producing vapor, you throw it away or recycle it if possible.
When the vaping industry was still young, seemingly every brand in the industry had a disposable e-cigarette available. Disposables began to fall by the wayside, though, as rechargeable e-cigarettes became less and less expensive. Once rechargeable e-cigarette kits from brands like Vuse and Blu began to appear in convenience stores at prices under $15, there simply wasn’t much reason for new vapers to try disposable e-cigarettes anymore.
The Trump administration’s flavored pod ban, however, has changed all that. Suddenly, disposable e-cigarettes have something that pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes don’t: They have flavors.
What Are the Benefits of Disposable E-Cigarettes?
Disposable e-cigarettes have several benefits aside from the fact that you can find them in flavors that are no longer available for cartridge- and pod-based e-cigarettes. The first of those is convenience. Modern e-cigarettes are certainly easy to use, but you still have to remember to keep your battery charged and ensure that you always have a spare cartridge or pod available when you leave the house. With disposable e-cigarettes, there’s no need to worry about that because they’re always ready to use. Carrying a few disposable e-cigarettes when you’re out of the house is really no different from carrying a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
Disposable e-cigarettes are a particularly good way to vape if you’re not a heavy smoker. If you only smoke cigarettes in social situations, for example, buying a rechargeable e-cigarette may not be the ideal way for you to vape. Do really want to bother with keeping your battery charged and managing your supply of pods if you’re only going to vape a couple of times per week?
What Are the Drawbacks of Disposable E-Cigarettes?
The first drawback of disposable e-cigarettes is that they’re expensive for daily use. If you currently use one of the more expensive pod-based e-cigarettes – JUUL, for example, is one of the costlier brands – you’re already accustomed to paying a higher price to vape than you would pay if you used a device with a refillable tank. Even compared to JUUL, though, disposable e-cigarettes are quite expensive. With prices usually around $6 and up, disposable e-cigarettes actually cost more than packs of cigarettes in some places.
The second drawback of disposable e-cigarettes is one that’s common to all e-cigarettes with disposable components: Most recycling companies aren’t equipped to handle vaping gear at all. That’s also true of e-cigarettes with disposable pods or cartridges like JUUL, but you’re not throwing away a lithium-ion battery every time you throw away a JUUL pod. Inevitably, the increased popularity of disposable e-cigarettes will lead to an increase in the number of lithium-ion batteries that end up in landfills and ultimately leech heavy metals into the soil.
Will Disposable E-Cigarettes Remain on the Market Permanently?
There is both good news and bad news in the answer to this question. Although the fact that the Trump administration’s ban on flavored vape pods – and not disposable e-cigarettes – has left a potential loophole that can still potentially allow teens to get small flavored vaping devices that are easy to conceal, it’s unlikely that the administration will change the language of the ban so close to the May 2020 deadline for pre-market tobacco product applications. For now, it’s unlikely that flavored disposable e-cigarettes are going away.
The bad news is that every vaping product on the market must have a pre-market application on file with the FDA by May 2020, or it’ll no longer be legal to sell. Pre-market applications are required for all vaping devices and e-liquids, and with each application carrying an estimated cost of well over $100,000, most small businesses in the vaping industry will simply close up shop in May rather than attempting to go through the application process. Large independent companies like NJOY – and brands with tobacco industry backing such as Blu and Vuse – may have the funding necessary to compete the application process. For most of the smaller companies in the American vaping industry, though, it seems likely that May 2020 is the end of the line.