The Vermont Vape Ban is ALL About MONEY – Not Teen Vaping

By Drake Equation •  Updated: 05/31/19 •  4 min read

Vermont just banned the sale of vape products in the state. Why? Made up teen vaping stats. And if that wasn’t enough, the state is still happy to take pay-outs from Big Tobacco. Which begs the question: is the Vermont vape ban ACTUALLY about money, after all? 


Vermont has made the sale of vape products – in store and online – illegal in the state. Why? Teen vaping, apparently. But as most of you now know, that “issue” isn’t as cut and shut as the FDA would have you believe.



The Vermont vape ban sucks for many reasons. Businesses will close, jobs will be lost, and millions of people will be denied access to life-saving technology. You will still be able to buy cigarettes in the state of Vermont, of course.

And the reason? The real reason? Like most things, it probably isn’t what you’d expect…

Ever heard of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)? No? Well, it’s an interesting quirk of the American judicial system, whereby Big Tobacco managed to ensure its survival by agreeing to pay off states with a share of its profits.

Sounds dodgy, right? It is. But the ACTUAL details are far more alarming.

Is The Master Settlement Agreement Killing Vaping? 

The idea of the MSA is simple: states can use the settlement money to fund anti-tobacco initiatives, fund cancer research, and the like. However, a lot of states don’t bother with this – some even use the money to directly fund tobacco production.

“Since the adoption of the MSA, states have turned to the constant stream of their tobacco windfall to do nearly anything they want. Spending on smoking-related healthcare costs and reducing and preventing tobacco use has represented but a fraction of state expenditures relating to the MSA,” notes CAGW.

Vermont got a record $59 million from the TSA in April 2018, confirming that it would use the money to fight the state’s other crisis – opioid addiction. A noble cause to be sure, but I cannot help wonder if this money has played a role in the state’s position on vaping?

Here’s a statement from Vermont’s Attorney General: “Vermont must ‘diligently enforce’ laws against tobacco companies that are not parties to the MSA. If Vermont fails to diligently enforce those laws in a given calendar year, it stands to lose a substantial portion, or potentially all, of its annual MSA payment for that year.”



The Real Reason Vape Products Are Classed As “Tobacco Products” 

Kind of sounds like Vermont is being strong-armed. I mean, vape products are classed as “tobacco products” and there are no vape companies involved in the MSA. Taken in this context, Vermont would lose its MSA money unless it took action against vaping. All it needed, like other states in the US, was an excuse…

And that excuse, of course, is teen vaping – an epidemic that doesn’t really exist. Never mind public health or the fact that vaping has helped millions of Americans quit smoking for good. None of that matters, seemingly. Not when we’re talking BIG BUCKS from the Master Settlement Agreement.

Doesn’t this all seem weird to you? The MSA itself is bizarre. Surely, if a product was found to be LETHAL to human life it would be banned, stopped from sale immediately? But this didn’t happen; instead, an agreement was made that ensured the survival of cigarettes and, in an ironic twist of fate, that same agreement is now killing vaping!

US States are literally addicted to Big Tobacco profits, and have been for decades.

You honestly couldn’t make this stuff up! Is this why the FDA was so keen on classing vape products as tobacco products, despite the fact they contain ZERO tobacco? Think about it: if a vape pen is classed as a tobacco product, any state getting fat on MSA payouts could be liable to lose its MSA funds if it allows vaping to gain too much traction.

The MSA, says Citizens Against Government Waste, “has turned the largest tobacco companies into an indispensable cash cow for politicians and bureaucrats, enabled irresponsible state spending, and, amazingly, has resulted in less money for public health and tobacco control while propping up a declining industry.”

So the next time someone tells you they’re banning vaping products because of teenagers using them, you can tell them it has nothing to do with this – it’s ALL about the money (that, ironically, comes from Big Tobacco itself).

What a shameful state of affairs…

Drake Equation

Co-founder and Editor of VapeBeat. I make the words.
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