cloudy.png
Thursday September 19th, 2019 9:06AM

Government will propose banning flavors used in e-cigarettes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes to combat a recent surge in underage vaping .

The Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove from the market all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters during an Oval Office appearance with the president, first lady Melania Trump and the acting FDA commissioner, Ned Sharpless.

Trump said vaping has become such a problem that he wants parents to be aware of what's happening. "People are going to watch what we're saying and parents are going to be a lot tougher with respect to their children," he said.

Melania Trump recently tweeted her concerns over the combination of children and vaping.

It will take several weeks to develop the proposed flavor restrictions, which will be subject to public input before taking effect.

Trump's first public comments on vaping come as health authorities investigate hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified, though many cases involve marijuana vaping devices.

The proposal announced by Trump officials would only apply to nicotine vaping products, which are regulated by the FDA.

The FDA has had the authority to ban vaping flavors since 2016, but has previously resisted calls to take that step. Agency officials instead said they were studying if flavors could help smokers quit traditional cigarettes.

But parents, politicians and health advocates have increasingly called for a crackdown on flavors , arguing that they are overwhelmingly to blame for a recent surge in underage vaping by U.S. teens, particularly with small, discrete devices such as Juul's.

Anti-tobacco groups praised the announcement but said restrictions must be "immediate."

"It has taken far too long to stop Juul and other e-cigarettes companies from targeting our nation's kids with sweet-flavored, nicotine-loaded products," said Matthew Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.

A ban on flavors would be a huge blow to companies such as San Francisco-based Juul, which has grown into a multibillion-dollar business by selling mint, fruit and dessert flavored-nicotine products.

Juul and other manufacturers argue that their products are intended to help adult smokers wean themselves off traditional paper-and-tobacco cigarettes. But there is little evidence that e-cigarettes are effective for helping smokers quit.

Representatives for Juul did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

A 2009 law banned all flavors from traditional cigarettes except menthol. But that law did not apply to e-cigarettes, which were then a tiny segment of the tobacco market.

"We simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace until they can secure FDA approval, if they can," Azar said.

Azar said flavored products could apply for FDA permission to reenter the market. But under agency standards, only products that represent a net benefit to the nation's public health can win FDA clearance.

Azar said the administration would allow tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to remain available as an option for adult smokers. But he said that if children begin using those products, "we will take enforcement action there also."

Significantly, the Trump proposal is expected to bar menthol and mint vaping flavors. FDA officials have previously exempted those products from any sales restrictions because they were thought to be useful to adult smokers. Anti-vaping advocates criticized that decision, pointing to survey data showing roughly half of teens who vape use mint and menthol.

"Finally, the FDA is doing its job," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who has prodded the agency for months to take action on flavors.

Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down as FDA commissioner in April, said in a tweet that Juul bore particular responsibility for forcing the administration's action.

"Unfortunately the entire category of e-cigs was put at risk largely as a result of the youth abuse of mostly one manufacturer's products," Gottlieb said.

Wednesday's announcement came despite months of aggressive lobbying by Juul, which spent $1.9 million in the first half of the year to try and sway the White House, Congress and the FDA.

Several former White House officials, including communications aide Josh Raffel, and Johnny DeStefano, who served as counselor to Trump, have gone on to work for Juul.

Federal law prohibits e-cigarette and all other tobacco sales to those under 18. But last year, 1 in 5 high school students reported vaping in the past month, according to government survey figures. Federal health officials have called the trend an "epidemic," and new statistics due out this fall are expected to show the problem worsening.

More than 80 percent of underage teens who use e-cigarettes say they picked their product because it "comes in flavors that I like," according to government surveys.

A few local governments, including San Francisco, have passed bans on flavored tobacco. And this month Michigan moved to become the first state to ban flavored electronic cigarettes. But other proposed flavor bans have stalled in state legislatures this year.

E-cigarettes have been on the U.S. market for more than a decade. FDA officials have repeatedly delayed enforcing regulations on them, responding to industry complaints that it would wipe out thousands of small vaping companies.

Most experts agree the aerosol from e-cigarettes is less harmful than cigarette smoke since it doesn't contain most of the cancer-causing byproducts of burning tobacco. E-cigarettes generally heat liquid containing nicotine. But there is virtually no research on the long-term effects of vaping.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Bill giving protections to Uber drivers, others moves ahead
The California Assembly is expected to give final consideration to a bill that would provide new wage and benefit protections to workers at so-called gig economy companies such as Uber and Lyft where people pick up jobs on their own schedule
1:49PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Government will propose banning flavors used in e-cigarettes
President Donald Trump says his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes
1:48PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Delle Donne earns AP player of the year; Collier top rookie
Elena Delle Donne honored as Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year honors
1:43PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
18 years later, America vows to 'never forget' 9/11
People who were too young on 9/11 to even remember their lost loved ones, and others for whom the grief is still raw, are paying tribute as America marks the 18th anniversary of the worst terror attack on U.S. soil.
1:15PM ( 42 minutes ago )
Trump to propose ban on flavorings used in e-cigarettes
President Donald Trump says his administration will propose banning thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes amid an outbreak of breathing problems tied to vaping
1:14PM ( 43 minutes ago )
UK court rules Johnson's suspension of Parliament unlawful
In a blow to Britain's PM, a Scottish court rules Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament less than two months before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union was unlawful.
1:10PM ( 47 minutes ago )
AP Business
China keeps penalties on US pork, soy, eases some others
China exempts some US chemicals from tariff hikes but leaves penalties on soybeans, pork, other farm goods
4:21AM ( 9 hours ago )
Apple rolls out new streaming TV service for $5 a month
Apple is finally taking on Netflix with its own streaming television service, offering it at the bargain price of $5 a month beginning on Nov. 1
6:56PM ( 19 hours ago )
FEMA officials, contractor accused of hurricane relief fraud
Federal authorities have arrested former officials of the Federal Emergency Management Authority and the former president of a major disaster relief contractor, accusing them of bribery and fraud as the territory struggled to recover from Hurricane Maria
5:22PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Bill giving protections to Uber drivers, others moves ahead
The California Assembly is expected to give final consideration to a bill that would provide new wage and benefit protections to workers at so-called gig economy companies such as Uber and Lyft where people pick up jobs on their own schedule
1:49PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Delle Donne earns AP player of the year; Collier top rookie
Elena Delle Donne honored as Associated Press WNBA Player of the Year honors
1:43PM ( 15 minutes ago )
US stocks move higher as China eases trade tensions
Stocks are rising broadly on Wall Street in afternoon trading as investors welcome China's move to exempt some U.S. products from a recent round of tariffs
1:39PM ( 18 minutes ago )
5 people stabbed in Tallahassee, suspect in custody
Authorities in Florida's capital city say a man suspected of stabbing five people at a construction supplies business was an employee who had been asked to leave work because of an incident with co-workers
1:25PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Czech leader wants to revoke Kosovo's recognition
Czech President Milos Zeman says he wants to know if his country can reverse its recognition of Serbia's former province Kosovo as an independent nation
1:23PM ( 34 minutes ago )