Officials in the Trump administration are considering a federal ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Alex M. Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Ned Sharpless, acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, made the announcement on Sept. 11, 2019 as the so-called vaping crisis deepens across the country, the New York Times reported.
To date, six people have died as the result of vaping-related lung illness.
The most recent death was a 50-year old man in Kansas, reported USA Today.
Five previous vaping-related deaths were confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Oregon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Sept. 11, 2019, has reported more than 450 possible cases of severe lung injury in 33 states and one jurisdiction.
“The vaping has become a very big business, as I understand it, like a giant business in a very short period of time. But we can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected,” the president said.
Health and Human Services secretary Azar said that in the coming weeks the administration would announce a plan to remove most flavored e-cigarettes from the US market although few details of the plan were revealed when the announcement was made.
Officials present stressed that the administration was acting to protect the health of children.
Azar said that the FDA would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing most flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
Michigan Governor leads the way
Last week, on Sept. 4, Michigan became the first state in the nation to ban flavored e-cigarettes, in a move Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said was aimed at protecting youth from the potentially harmful effects of vaping.
The Trump administration and the FDA have been under pressure to remove flavored vape products, which are seen as more attractive to children, from the US market.
New York, Massachusetts and California are considering banning flavored vapes.
San Francisco, noted the NY Times, approved an e-cigarette ban earlier this year.
Juul Labs, the dominant seller in the United States, is lobbying to reverse that decision in a ballot initiative this November. Juul’s headquarters are in San Francisco.
In the midst of the vaping crisis, largely thought to be connected to Vitamin- E acetate and flavored e-cigarettes, Juul Labs has been giving presentations to school children without their parents’ consent.
According to Ars Techica, Juul has been saying, without evidence, that its products are safer than smoking traditional cigarettes.
“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Sharpless said in a statement on Sept. 9, 2019.
“JUUL has ignored the law, and very concerningly, has made some of these statements in school to our nation’s youth.”