Most flavored e-cigarette pods to be pulled from market, except for menthol, tobacco

Federal health officials announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had banned a variety of flavored e-cigarette products, including fruit and peppermint. However, the menthol and tobacco-flavored pods are still available. The Trump administration had previously promised to ban all flavors. This decision is a compromise.

Health officials from the FDA and Department of Health and Human Services stated at a recent press conference that the action was targeted towards e-cigarettes with disposable cartridges containing liquid nicotine, which appeal to children the most.

Alex Azar, Secretary of HHS, said that companies would no longer be able to manufacture, distribute, or sell unauthorized cartridge-based e-cigarettes with flavors beginning in early February.

The FDA will restrict access to flavored cartridges of e-cigarettes and monitor e-cigarette companies that fail to prevent youth from accessing their products.

In a statement released on Thursday, Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, said that the United States had never experienced a substance abuse epidemic as rapid as the current one of youth e-cigarette use. Health and Human Services is responsible for overseeing the FDA.

Azar stated that flavored e-liquids sold in vape shops for “open-tank” vaping systems would be legal because adults mostly use them.

Azar described the new restrictions as “a smart, targeted policy which protects our children without creating unnecessary disturbance” for adults who are using e-cigarettes to quit smoking cigarettes.

Medical experts are disappointed with the ban on cartridge-based tobacco flavors and menthol flavors, despite government health officials’ claims that teens are less likely to use them.

In a press release, Dr. Patrice Harri, President of the American Medical Association, said that the new Administration policy to combat the youth e-cigarette epidemic is a good step. Still, it does not go as far as needed. The AMA is disappointed by the fact that menthol flavors, one of the most popular, will be allowed to remain and that flavored liquids will continue to be on the market.

Dr. Sharon Levy is a pediatric addiction specialist and director of the Boston Children’s Hospital’s adolescent drug abuse and addiction program. It turns out that despite the fact that the industry says menthol is only meant for adults, teens use it.

Vaping is not proven to help adult smokers stop smoking. According to federal data, almost 41 percent of adults who use e-cigarettes continue smoking cigarettes. Medical experts claim that the effects of e-cigarettes on smokers are not known.

The Trump administration announced in September that it would pursue a prohibition on all non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to combat the epidemic of teenage vaping. The decision was made Thursday after President Donald Trump had promised “strong regulations and rules.”

The 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey revealed that over 5 million students in middle and high schools are currently using e-cigarettes. Almost 1 million use e-cigarettes daily. According to a survey conducted in 2013-2014, 81 percent of teens vaping cite flavors as the main reason for their use.

According to a study, teens prefer the flavors of mint and mango.

The FDA’s decision comes shortly after the United States increased the legal age for purchasing tobacco, which includes e-cigarettes, to 21.

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