Flavored electronic cigarettes may soon be a thing of the past in the US. The Trump administration has made this announcement on the 11th of September 2019 amid a vaping crisis that has hit the United States.
This move seeks to finalize plans on implementing a policy that will rid the U.S market of non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes such as menthol and mint flavors.
U.S Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, while speaking from the Oval Office on Wednesday noted that approximately 8 million adults and 5 million children are using e-cigarettes. Before Azar made this announcement, President Trump was quoted expressing his concerns about vaping among the youth. Trump said that the popularity of e-cigarettes is a “very new and potentially bad” problem.
While I like the Vaping alternative to Cigarettes, we need to make sure this alternative is SAFE for ALL! Let’s get counterfeits off the market, and keep young children from Vaping!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2019
“People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but it’s turned out that it has its difficulties,”
Trump commented while speaking on vaping from the Oval Office in his Wednesday address.
The new plan, which is set to go into action in the next few weeks, will result in the removal of all flavored e-cigarettes from shelves within the next 30 days.
Once accomplished, the government will then make follow up to ensure that manufacturers who want to continue producing flavored e-cigarettes get approval from the FDA. To get this approval, manufacturers would need to prove that the benefits derived from consuming by their products outweigh the associated risks such as potential addiction among teenagers.
“We simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace until they can secure FDA approval if they can,” Azar said.
He pointed out that flavored products are free to request the agency’s permission to re-enter the market.
E-cigarettes are a popular alternative to traditional smoking products and their popularity has continued to increase in the last ten years.
The e-cigarettes are electronic devices that contain a liquid which they turn into vapor to be drawn into the user’s lungs by smoking. Many users vape with a liquid whose contents range from nicotine to flavors among other chemicals. Azar assured that tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes would remain on shelves for consumption by adults only.
“If children begin using those products, we will take enforcement action there also.” He said.
It is against Federal law to sell e-cigarettes or other tobacco-based products to anyone under the age of 18 years. Some states have even higher minimum age to purchase vape products. He also added that about 25% of high school students in the U.S reported vaping in the last month. This has caused a lot of concern among government health officials with a majority of them calling it the “vaping epidemic.”
President Trump said that vaping has become a big problem
And he wants to bring parents up to speed on what is happening to their young ones.
“People are going to watch what we’re saying and parents are going to be a lot tougher with respect to their children,” Trump said.
Although the FDA has had the power to ban flavored e-cigarettes since 2016, it has been hesitant to do so without a clear indication that vaping was responsible for the masses’ illness.
There also needed to be time to observe the positive effects that vaping could have such as a reduction in the level of traditional smoking.
Vaping companies among them Juul have presented a counter-argument citing the fact that their products help adult smokers reduce their dependence on the conventional paper and tobacco cigarettes, but there is little evidence to support this claim.
The American Vaping Association has expressed its displeasure at the President’s decision to make a decision based on advice from anti-vaping activists such as Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s former mayor.
“We are deeply disappointed in the President’s decision to take direction from anti-vaping activists like Mike Bloomberg by attempting to ban the sale of nearly every vaping product on the market. A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking,” said the 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. The President should meet with just one of the millions of American voters who have used flavors to quit smoking before moving forward on this draconian approach to regulation and public policy,” they added.
Vice news has also weighed their opinion on the matter on twitter with various people expressing their thoughts too.
As of last week, Michigan became the first state to prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes with its governor applauding the Trump administration for what he considered a bold step. “This is great news for our kids, our families, and our overall public health.” Said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“Right now, companies are getting our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing flavors like apple juice, bubble gum and candy.”
Following closely in the steps of Michigan is California where San Francisco became the first major U.S city to ban the sale of the flavored substitutes both online and in stores.
While all this is happening, the Centre for Disease Control is investigating over 450 cases of lung complications for links to vaping. The CDC said that this number was reported from patients of all ages and all walks of life and urged all Americans to avoid vaping while investigations into the illnesses and deaths continue.
“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, incident manager of the CDC’s response to the vaping-related lung injuries.
“People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms, for example, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea and vomiting — and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns.”
Weighing in on the matter, the first lady Melania Trump had this to say.
I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. 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. @HHSGov
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 9, 2019
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