The Trump administration is finalizing a ban on flavored e-cigarettes after the outbreak of a vaping-related illness that’s sickened 450 people and resulted in at least six deaths.
“We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected,” President Donald Trump said during an Oval Office appearance with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. “People are dying from vaping, so we’re looking at it very closely.”
Democrats and increasing numbers of Republicans in Congress have pressed for flavor bans, age restrictions and other curbs on the sale of vaping products. They’ve pressed the FDA to move faster to investigate and regulate e-cigarettes, which have been touted by manufacturers as a way to wean people from traditional cigarettes but have also led to what the FDA calls an “epidemic” of youth vaping of nicotine.
The administration has been developing a rule requiring all e-cigarette makers to submit their products for review by May 2020 or pull them off the market.
Manufacturers will have to show the Food and Drug Administration that their products don’t pose a public health threat. They will also need to demonstrate why any flavored products should stay on the market. E-cigarette manufacturers that submit products for review can keep their products on the market for a year while the FDA evaluates them.
The agency in March acknowledged that many flavored vapes would likely be discontinued in response to the looming regulatory deadline and sales restrictions.
Public health officials haven’t established a firm cause for the vaping-related respiratory illnesses. Counterfeit or black-market vapes may be playing a role, but legal vapes haven’t been ruled out. Many of the cases have been linked to vaped forms of marijuana and its component, CBD.
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