Phil Scott Scott is licensed under CC by NC ND 2.0

Vermont Governor Scott returned Senate Bill 18, a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco, vapor, and all other nicotine-containing products, without a signature after it passed the Senate 18-11 and the House 83-53, both falling short of enough votes to override the veto. 

Tim Andrews, ATR’s Director of Consumer Issues, said “Governor Scott’s decision to veto this bill is a huge relief to Vermonters who rely on vaping products to stay away from deadly combustible cigarettes. Rejecting the tax hike will make it easier for those who currently smoke to achieve cessation using vapor products, as flavors are proven to be a crucial factor in an adult smoker’s decision to quit.” 

In his veto letter, Gov. Scott correctly described S.18 as “hypocritical and out of step with other initiatives that have been passed”. Alongside the double standard of enacting a tobacco flavor ban post the legalization of cannabis (flavored varieties included) in 2020 and state advertisement of flavored alcohol products, the bill also compromises the state’s revenue stability.  

This bill would have resulted in an estimated revenue loss of between $7.1 to $14.2 million in fiscal year 2027.  Nearby Massachusetts has already experienced similar consequences as a result of their own flavor ban, seeing a $17 million loss in tobacco tax revenue to New Hampshire, which gained $18 million in revenue as residents simply drove to across the border to purchase flavored products. 

Governor Scott also recognized the critical importance of preserving adult choice: “To be clear, I too feel we have an obligation to protect our children, but it must be balanced in such a way that we honor the rights and freedoms of adults to make decisions about their individual lives.”  That freedom to make the choice to switch from cigarettes to safer alternatives, like vapor products and flavored nicotine pouches, is a matter of life or death for thousands of former smokers and those looking to quit. 

Gov. Scott also clearly understands that if consumers want a product, they will find a way to get it. “Furthermore,” he wrote, “from a purely practical point of view, these products would continue to be widely available just across the river in New Hampshire, and through online sales.”  

ATR commends Governor Scott for recognizing the hypocrisy and ineffectiveness of the bill, preserving access to lifesaving tobacco harm reduction products like flavored vapor products that thousands of former adult smokers rely on to stay away from deadly combustible cigarettes. 

Governor Scott’s full statement regarding the veto can be found here