In September, President Trump’s spokespeople announced they would take strong action against the fast-growing epidemic of teenage vaping: a temporary ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes causing groups representing thousands of vape shops around the country to quickly mobilize. They created a “We Vape, We Vote” social media campaign aimed at President Trump, hired a pollster who had worked for the president’s election and ran a television ad in Florida urging him not to follow through with the ban.
Recently the Trump administration announced they would forbid the sale of most flavored e-cigarette cartridges, but would exempt menthol and tobacco flavors, as well as flavored liquid nicotine sold in open tank systems at vape shops- A partial victory for the industry groups, but allaying parental concern as public health officials have reported salient data regarding nicotine addiction among teenagers. Federal officials said that starting next month they would take action against companies that were still making or selling e-cigarette cartridges — or pods — in mint, fruit or dessert flavors, as part of an effort to reduce the soaring rate of teenage vaping. Surveys showing that teenagers prefer flavors, like mint and fruits, much more than menthol. It is unclear to what extent young vapers use open tank systems, which require that flavored liquids be added to devices that then convert them into an inhalable aerosol.
Flavored pods sold by Juul, in particular, had become extremely popular among teenagers, a trend that prompted public and regulatory backlash against the San Francisco-based company. Juul has withdrawn many of its flavors from the market under public and regulatory pressure, and faces several federal and state investigations into its marketing practices.
Companies with e-cigarettes and accessories like pods have been allowed on the market under extensions granted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No substantive evidence or review process has indicated that the products are safe for long-term use, or that they are successful in getting people to stop smoking cigarettes. An FDA review process is now underway, with manufacturers required to submit applications by May to try to prove that the products are not a public health risk. That means that some of the products targeted under the enforcement action could ultimately be approved and re-enter the market — a possible reason the President may have referred to the ban as temporary.
Public health expertsfor a ban on flavored e-cigarettes as a way of curbing youth nicotine use. The American Medical Association (AMA) was among a number of medical and public health groups that called the new restrictions a good step, but not enough stating that if the Trump administration is serious about tackling this epidemic and keeping these harmful products out of the hands of young people a total ban on all flavored e-cigarettes in all forms and at all locations is needed.”
The AMA was disappointed that menthol flavors – one of the most popular — will still be allowed. The tobacco and vaping industries fought hard against a menthol ban, and were confident weeks ago that it would be exempted from any flavor restrictions. The administration was swayed by new survey data suggesting that very few teenagers preferred menthol. But public health officials worry that the absence of other flavors will lead teenagers to menthol, especially now that mint is off-limits.
The current debate over a flavor ban was set off by youth vaping and the recent outbreak of severe lung injuries largely related to vaping THC, the high-inducing ingredient in marijuana. Various lobbying groups pointed to measures other than an outright ban of e-cigarettes as a way to reduce usage by teenagers. The vaping and tobacco industries lobbied lawmakers and the White House to back raising the national age to 21 for sales of all tobacco and e-cigarette products, which Congress passed late last year and President Trump signed it into law.
SAFE, Inc. is the only alcohol and substance abuse prevention, intervention and education agency in the City of Glen Cove. Its Coalition is concerned about vaping and seeks to educate and update the community regarding its negative consequences. To learn more about the SAFE Glen Cove Coalition please follow us on www.facebook.com/safeglencove or visit the Vaping Facts and Myths Page of SAFE’s website to learn more about how it’s detrimental to your health www.safeglencove.org.