The Trump Administration is rolling out vaping ban on fruit-flavored and mint-flavored products in an attempt to curb youth’s popularity among e-cigarette. The Food and Drug Administration stated that the manufacturers have up to 30 days to cease producing and selling cartridge-based vaping devices that features fruit and mint flavors.
While the vaping ban is directly aimed fruit and mint flavors only. It doesn’t apply to menthol or tobacco flavors which creates a loophole in the legal case. Furthermore, vaping ban also excludes open systems like vape pens which requires the user to manually refill their e-cigarette with liquid.
This new rule focuses solely on vaping devices that are equipped with cartridges which FDA described as an easy way to use and concealable. The recent proposal of vaping ban signifies a retreat from President Trump’s pledge to crack down vaping following deaths and respiratory illnesses linked to vaping.
However, the recent move to ban vaping caused some anger among avid vapers. Several industry groups such as Vapor Technology Association launched a counterattack by delivering an aggressive social media campaign which includes hashtag — #IVapeIVote — that contends the plan will force vape shop to close, causing the existing users to return to tobacco products.
The new vaping ban focuses on preserving a large portion of the multibillion vaping market. However, the narrow scope of the FDA policy is likely to entice tobacco giant like Altria who also owns Juul and among several vape shop owners around the country that sells open systems. The sales of vape pens accounts for approximately 40% of the vaping business located in United States alone.
Since last year in beginning of January, more than 55 people have died from vaping-related illnesses. Around 2,500 people were hospitalized due to over-dosage. The new vaping ban only applies to pre-filled cartridges that are typically sold at the gas stations and convenience stores. Juul who is the biggest player in the market withdrew all of its flavors except menthol and tobacco.
FDA justified the ban for fruit and mint flavored products, citing that teenagers prefers them over menthol and tobacco. However, the youth health advocates were quick to criticize the new rule, stating that the new vaping policy doesn’t goes that far enough to protect the youth.
Some feared that elimination of flavored e-cigarettes will worsen the epidemic and stops the companies from luring kids with flavored products. The American Medical Association calls for a complete ban on all the devices that do not function as a smoking cessation tool.
Despite the tension over vaping ban, the policy represents a significant stepping stone for the federal government to combat the youth epidemic that has been on the hook for decades. According to a government survey, everyone 1 out of 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the prevent month even though the federal law bans consumption and purchase of products under 18 years old.
Just last month, President Trump signed the law that raises minimum age to purchase tobacco and vaping devices from 18 to 21 nationwide. More than 20 states already raised the minimum age from 18 to 21 before it became a nationwide law.