- The Food and Drug Administration will implement a ban on all flavored e-cigarette pods except tobacco and menthol varieties as part of an attempt to curb youth vaping, Trump Administration officials told multiple news outlets on December 31, 2019.
- The ban would exclude open-tank vaping devices, a compromise made for small businesses.
- According to The Wall Street Journal, those devices are often found at vape shops and “allow users to mix their own nicotine liquids.” Open-tank vaping devices are not as popular with young people.
- The move also comes at the height of a public safety scare related to a growing spate of serious lung diseases tied to vaping.
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Nearly a year after federal regulators first outlined a sweeping proposal to ban the sale of sweet and fruity flavored e-cigarettes, the Trump Administration will put a ban on certain flavored vaping cartridges.
As first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the FDA plans to prohibit the sale of all flavored vaping pods except tobacco and menthol varieties as part of an attempt to curb the rise of youth vaping. The Journal, citing officials, said the official announcement is expected on Friday,
The ban would exclude open-tank vaping devices, a compromise made for small businesses. The Journal reported that those devices are often found at vape shops and “allow users to mix their own nicotine liquids.” Open-tank vaping devices are not as popular with young people.
The move also comes at the height of a public safety scare related to a growing cluster of serious lung diseases tied to vaping. At last count, 55 people have died and nearly 2,561 have been hospitalized as a result of the mysterious condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The flavors that will be prohibited are those that are believed to be most popular with young people. Many manufacturers of vape devices and refillable vaping liquids offer options ranging from spicy watermelon to bubble gum, and health experts have said that those offerings are a clear and obvious danger to kids. Young people are highly vulnerable to nicotine, the addictive drug in many e-cigarettes.
Juul, the top seller of e-cigarettes, has already halted sales of flavored vapes
The exempted flavors, on the other hand, are those that are believed to be most popular with adults, and are similar to menthol cigarettes.
Juul, the market leader in vape sales, currently sells tobacco, mint, and menthol-flavored nicotine vapes. The company previously sold mango, fruit, cucumber, and cream varieties, but voluntarily stopped offering those in October following a previous decision to sell them online.
“In an effort to reduce the surge in youth vaping, the ban would target the type of e-cigarettes most popular among teens,” The Washington Post reported. “Menthol and tobacco flavors would be excluded from the ban, the administration official said.”
In November 2018, Scott Gottlieb, then commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, announced that he would be spearheading a similar move to ban sweet and fruit flavored e-cigarettes. That proposal, which Gottlieb said at the time had broad support within the Trump administration, also excluded mint and tobacco varieties from the ban.
An ‘on-ramp’ for teen smoking and vaping
Then this September, on the heels of a policy meeting at the White House, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested that the Trump Administration aimed to put Gottlieb’s proposal into action.
“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar said in a statement on September 11.
“We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
Erin Brodwin contributed to this article.
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