President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes to combat a recent surge in underage vaping. (Sept. 11)
“It’s causing a lot of problems and we’re going to have to do something about it,” Trump said after a White House meeting with health policy advisers. “There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems.”
The Food and Drug Administration will soon issue guidance on how to take flavored vaping products off the market, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, a process that could take weeks or months.
Products are currently sold under an FDA waiver.
It’s unclear whether vaping companies could take legal action to block a ban.
Supporters of vaping called the proposed ban unfair, saying it would bankrupt businesses, create a black market, and cause some ex-smokers to return to tobacco.
“A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association. “In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes.”
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Supporters said health problems have been caused by contaminated vaping cartridges.
Members of Congress have also discussed taking action amid concern about the physical effects of e-cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating more than 450 cases of lung disease that some officials believe were triggered by vaping.
At least six deaths have been attributed to the mysterious lung disease.
Democratic lawmakers applauded the move. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Col., tweeted that she rarely agrees with the Trump administration, but does in this case because “these flavored nicotine products are causing real harm to the health of our children.”
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called it a “long overdue step” that “must be comprehensive, immediate and long-lasting.”
Two days ago, first lady Melania Trump expressed concern about “the growing epidemic” of e-cigarette use by children. She tweeted, “we need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
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