The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially banned fruit- and mint-flavored e-cigarette cartridges currently on the market as a result of the vaping illness epidemic that caused lung diseases and deaths over the past year.
The FDA announced its new policy on Thursday, saying that any e-cigarette company that does not cease the manufacture, distribution, and sale of the flavored e-cigarette products within 30 days will have to deal with FDA enforcement actions. There’s one crucial exception: Vape shops will still be able to sell flavored tank vaping systems.
The enforcement policy bans all current products on the market until safer and better-regulated products can be produced. In its announcement, the FDA said, “Importantly, the FDA’s enforcement priorities are not a ‘ban’ on flavored or cartridge-based ENDS. The FDA has already accepted and begun review of several premarket applications for flavored ENDS products through the pathway that Congress established in the Tobacco Control Act.”
Aside from health concerns, the move to remove flavored e-cigarette products is also to curb youth vaping.
“As we work to combat the troubling epidemic of youth e-cigarette use, 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 — so-called cartridge-based products that are both easy to use and easily concealable. We will continue to use our full regulatory authority thoughtfully and thoroughly to tackle this alarming crisis that’s affecting children, families, schools and communities,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said, in the FDA’s official announcement.
Tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are not a part of the ban and will still be available for purchase.
Some states have already banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid health concerns. These states include New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and California. President Donald Trump also called for a nationwide ban on flavored e-cigarettes back in September.
According to polling data from YouGov published in October, a majority of Americans support a federal vape ban; 52% support a ban at the federal level and 29% oppose a ban, according to results shared with Digital Trends. In addition, most of those polled doubt e-cigarettes truly help people quit smoking cigarettes. Studies consistently show e-cigarette smokers are less likely to quit than regular smokers who have never used these kinds of devices.
As of December 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 55 people have died from vaping-related causes and that there have been 2,561 cases of lung injuries caused by vaping.
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