Flavored e-cigarettes will be banned if the Trump administration has anything to say about it. The ban comes amid an uptick in reporting of vaping-related illnesses. The ban seeks to target all e-cigarettes with any flavor aside from tobacco.
In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made clear the administration’s stance. “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,” the secretary began.
“We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
Ostensibly, tobacco products can’t be sold to minors. However, some data and many anecdotal instances point to flavored vaping products being a favorite of children. Juul Labs, for instance, is taking fire for allegedly marketing in such a way that their materials seem to be targeting children.
Actual clinical studies into vaping are few and far between, as the industry is new and has been moving quickly since its inception. As such, it’s hard to speak with certainty about the impact or demographics of e-cigarettes.
Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes earlier this year, stating that they wanted to prevent kids from getting their hands on them. This ban will go into effect in a few weeks and will forbid the sale of all but e-cigarettes with tobacco flavoring.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a city-wide ban targeting all e-cigarettes went into effect in mid-June. The measure was passed unanimously. This marks one of the first times that e-cigarettes have been targeted by harsher regulations, ending an era of no regulation over the industry.
A number of vaping-related illnesses have cropped up recently, as many as 450 cases in 33 states. The illnesses are still being studied, but they primarily affect the lungs. There have been six deaths from the alleged vape-related illnesses, which are thought to have prompted the strong response from the government.
There’s no word on whether the new laws will also target harmful, flavored. disease-causing substances like menthol cigarettes, malt alcoholic beverages or flavored chewing tobacco.