The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it plans to ban the sale of nontobacco-flavored electronic cigarettes. This announcement comes after recent investigations into vaping-related lung illnesses by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and various state health departments.
As of Friday, there have been more than 450 possible cases of lung illnesses associated with the use of e-cigarettes reported to the CDC across 33 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A Kansas health official announced Tuesday that a sixth person in the U.S. had died due to a related lung illness.
According to CNBC, the FDA has championed e-cigarettes in some ways, saying that it is less harmful for smokers and their nicotine addiction than smoking cigarettes, but with the increase in the amount of minors using the products, the FDA was forced to reverse course.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced that the new enforcements would call for flavored e-cigarettes to be taken out of retail stores.
“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. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
Data from the CDC’s annual survey of teens showed that more than 25% of high school students used e-cigarettes within the last 30 days, the majority of them saying they had vaped fruit and menthol or mint flavors.
The Trump administration plans to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market. American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley has criticized the plan, saying in a statement that it would remove “life-changing” options from the market.
Michigan, San Francisco and Boulder, Colorado, have all already banned flavored e-cigarettes and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called the plan a “bold step.”
According to The New York Times, the move to ban flavored e-cigarettes from the market comes following increasing pressure from lawmakers, parents and educators.