In the wake of new data showing an alarming rise in vaping by youth in the United States, the Trump administration announced plans to ban most flavored e-cigarettes.
In a White House meeting chaired by President Donald Trump, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the Food and Drug Administration is finalizing a guidance document that would require that all flavors, other than tobacco flavor, would be removed from the e-cigarette market.
This would include mint and menthol flavoring, as well as candy flavors, bubblegum flavor, fruit flavor and alcohol flavor.
Once the guidelines are finalized, FDA would begin enforcement actions to remove all such products from the shelves.
To a question about the timeline to take those flavors off the market, Azar replied that it will take several weeks to put out the final guidance that would announce all the parameters around the enforcement policy. And then there will be a 30-day-delayed effective date, as per FDA’s practices. At that point, tentatively by May 2020, all flavored e-cigarettes, other than tobacco flavor, would have to be removed from the market.
Trump said in the presence of First Lady Melania Trump that his wife feels “very, very strongly” about the issue because of their 13-year-old son, Barron. “People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out that it has its own difficulties,” according to him.
Alex Azar shared vital data from the National Youth Tobacco survey, which shows a continued surge in adolescent usage of e-cigarettes. It also shows that the youth are drawn to flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol.
It is estimated that currently, about 8 million adults and 5 million children in the country are using e-cigarettes.
Azar said that an entire generation of children risk becoming addicted to nicotine because of the attractiveness and availability of these vaping products. However, he made it clear that the government would allow the tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to remain on the market to be available for adults who are seeking to stop the use of combustible tobacco.
US health officials are reportedly investigating more than 450 cases of vaping-related lung disease, six of which resulted in deaths.
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