- The US Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on flavored e-cigarette pods, except tobacco and menthol varieties, as part of an attempt to curb youth vaping.
- The move would effectively pull sweet and fruity flavored vaping pods from the market, but it excludes open-tank vaping devices, a compromise made for small businesses.
- Pod-based devices like Juul are more popular among young vapers than open-tank vaping devices.
- “The enforcement policy we’re issuing today confirms our commitment to dramatically limit children’s access to certain flavored e-cigarette products we know are so appealing to them,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.
- 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 announced a more limited crackdown on certain flavored vaping cartridges.
The Food and Drug Administration 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, US health officials said in a statement on Thursday.
The ban would exclude open-tank vaping devices, a compromise made for small businesses. Young people are more likely to vape using pod-based devices like the Juul.
“The enforcement policy we’re issuing today confirms our commitment to dramatically limit children’s access to certain flavored e-cigarette products we know are so appealing to them,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement.
The impending crackdown was first reported on December 31 by The Wall Street Journal.
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 Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The flavours 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 flavours, 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 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.
This article was published on December 31 and has been updated.
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