Ban Coming on E-Cigarettes?
The Trump administration said on Wednesday that it would ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, at a time when hundreds of people have been sickened by mysterious lung illnesses and teenage vaping continues to rise.
Sitting in the Oval Office with the government’s top health officials, President Trump acknowledged that there was a vaping problem and said: “We can’t allow people to get sick. And we can’t have our kids be so affected.”
Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, said that the Food and Drug Administration would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods from the market, excluding tobacco flavors. The ban would include mint and menthol, popular varieties that manufacturers have argued should not be considered flavors.
The White House and the F.D.A. have faced mounting pressure from lawmakers, public health officials, parents and educators, who have grown alarmed by the popularity of vaping among teenagers but have felt powerless to keep e-cigarettes away from students and out of schools.
Azar said they want to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market for adults who may be using them to quit smoking. The FDA has embraced e-cigarettes as a less harmful way for smokers to satisfy their nicotine addiction than smoking cigarettes. Skyrocketing numbers of minors started using the products, forcing the FDA to reverse course.
“If we find that children start surging into tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes or if we find marketing practices that target children and try to attract them into tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, we will engage in enforcement actions there also,” he told reporters. The effort to ban flavored e-cigarettes has started picking up momentum. Michigan, San Francisco, and Boulder, Colorado, have banned flavored e-cigarettes. Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York mayor, pledged $160 million to help enact similar restrictions around the country.