September 11, 2019 -
The White House today announced that it is readying the FDA for a potential federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products, amid a nationwide e-cigarette epidemic that has killed at least six people and injured hundreds more. The FDA, prompted by growing concerns of both the public and health officials, is working to finalize a plan to ban all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes from the market within 30 days. This ban would include popular flavors such as menthol and mint. The proposed ban would also include most Juul pods, barring the tobacco flavored pod. Juul, which hold 75% share in the e-cigarette market, has been under heavy scrutiny in the past few months for promoting their flavored nicotine liquid pods to children and young adults. The guidelines of the plan may allow e-cigarette companies to reintroduce their flavor products, but only after they submit a formal application and receive approval from the FDA. “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,” said U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.” Azar said that it could take the FDA up to several weeks to develop guidelines for the ban.
The ban is limited to non-tobacco flavors only, so that adult smokers trying to quit cigarettes still have the option to switch to e-cigarettes. As Azar explained, the epidemic of underage youth using e-cigarettes, primarily flavored e-cigarette products, is what forced the hand of the federal government to move forward with the ban. Although, Azir says the agency is not ruling out a full federal ban of all e-cigarette flavors. “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.” Some Congress members have been putting pressure on the Executive to move forward with a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes since the congressional hearings on Juul in July. The president has now asked the FDA to get to the bottom of this e-cigarette epidemic. As e-cigarette lawsuits and Juul lawsuits continue to be filed nationwide, and as the number of e-cigarette adverse event reports continue to rise, the federal government seems to finally be responding to this serious nationwide epidemic.
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