Blunt wrap flavors are in the crosshairs of state and federal regulations
A 2020 study has revealed that a third of weed users smoke blunts. A separate study of Backwoods-branded social media content revealed that half of #backwoods posts on Instagram were cannabis-related. This week, California stores had to stop selling flavored vape, e-cig and tobacco products, including some items from Swisher Sweet and Backwoods.
The practice of smoking cannabis in a cigar leaf gained popularity in the 1980s in New York City. The melting pot of Caribbean and African-American immigrants has made front sheet natural, Dutch and Phillies have been an essential part of the East Coast smoking experience over the decades. According to one 2015 study , 20% of regular smokers prefer blunts to other forms of consumption.
There is little research on the safety of the many methods of cannabis consumption, including fronto leaf. Yet many smokers have switched from traditional rolling papers to the fronto paper because they feel it has fewer chemicals.
Since fronto leaf products are not processed with additives or preservatives, many users swear they are a healthier, more natural alternative to blunt wraps and other flavored cigar leaves. They also allow for greater customization, as users can cut individual sheets from the entire grabba sheet depending on the size of blunt they plan to roll.
The term grabba leaf is often used interchangeably with fronto leaf, but there is a slight difference. Grabba refers to the strips of decomposed fronto leaves that smokers roll into rolling paper spliffs. Legend has it that the term “grabba” comes from the Jamaican patois, in which locals often tell other smokers to “take a” leaf. Grabba is popular among smokers who enjoy a hit of tobacco with their cannabis, but not a whole blunt.
In 2020, California voters approved Proposition 31, which prohibits retailers and vending machines from selling menthol cigarettes, Grape Backwoods, and most Swisher Sweets products statewide. The new law is effective Wednesday, and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a similar nationwide ban on these products. The FDA is currently reviewing public comments on this ban.
Astute historians will note that the same language used to criminalize cannabis in the 1930s (saving vulnerable minorities from making personal health decisions) is used to criminalize flavored tobacco sellers today. For example, in 1911, the American architects of the war on drugs preached: “Hashish, of which we know very little in this country, will doubtless be adopted by many unfortunate people if they can obtain it.”
Dozens of California cities and counties have already chosen to ban these products in 2018. Massachusetts was the first state to enact a flavored tobacco ban in 2020. Researchers are looking at the impact of the Massachusetts ban .
The California ban does not place restrictions on the consumption of these tobacco products, so customers can still obtain them from wholesale suppliers. Supporters of the ban want these potentially dangerous products removed from store shelves. They claim that underage and minority shoppers could face a increased risk of cancer and addiction when used regular.
Today, rap stars Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y have spoken out against blunts over the years, insisting joints are healthier. Of the studies have concluded that consumers smokers have an increased risk of cancer (6,7 times higher than in non-smokers). In contrast, cannabis-only users have a low cancer risk (1,2 times). Local advocates say banning flavored tobacco in California will save lives.
How will California enforce its flavored tobacco ban?
Retailers who violate the new rules face fines of $250 for each violation. The law provides exceptions for hookah, pipe, leaf tobacco and high-priced cigars.
Employees who sell these products should not face criminal charges, lawmakers say, but company owners and decision-makers could face other consequences at the discretion of local prosecutors.
California law defines flavored tobacco products as a product that has a flavor, outside of the normal tobacco flavor. Flavors can be fruit, mint, menthol, honey, chocolate and vanilla, for example.
Flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes or vapes, including those flavored with menthol, are now banned from smoking rooms, gas stations and other retail stores in California. Many varieties of Swisher Sweet cigarillos are affected by this ban, as well as grape-flavored Backwoods.
Some unflavoured cigars and leaf tobacco are exempt from this law. The sale of chewing gum or chewing gum containing nicotine, which is not approved by the FDA, is also prohibited.
Given that 20% of active cannabis smokers prefer blunts to any other method of consumption, this is an important question for many cannabis consumers. Some smokehouses even fear bankruptcy because they rely on these high-volume products to fly off the shelves.
According to a study by the US Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2,5 million young people reported using e-cigarettes this year. Nearly 85% of respondents have used flavored e-cigarettes.
Future studies identifying how tobacco companies design and market their products for blunt making (e.g., perforations in tobacco leaf wrappers, colored, resealable and airtight wrappers to mask odor), are essential. to inform comprehensive cigar regulations, interventions, campaign education, and ultimately reduce tobacco-related health disparities.