Trump moves to ban most flavored electronic cigarettes

A young person uses an electronic cigarette. (Getty Images)
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Citing his 13-year-old son as an example, President Trump signaled Wednesday that his administration would ban most flavored electronic cigarettes, which have caused an epidemic of e-cig use among teenagers across the country, including Kentucky.

“We can’t allow people to get sick. And we can’t have our youth be so affected,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, acting Food and Drug Administration commissioner Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless and first lady Melania Trump, who the president said feels “very, very strongly” about the issue because of their son, Barron.

“Azar said Wednesday the administration intends to ‘clear the market’ of flavored e-cigarettes,” reports Laurie McGinley of The Washington Post. “Azar said the FDA is finalizing a plan on flavored e-cigarettes in the next several weeks that probably would go into effect a month later. The policy, he said, would require most flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, to be removed from the market. The flavored products would not be allowed back on the market until — and if — they receive specific approval from the FDA,” which would require them to show a health benefit.

Azar said, “No child should ever use a vaping or e-cigarette product.” Despite the industry’s terminology, e-cigs do not produce a vapor, but an aerosol, with a wide range of particulates.

Administration officials said tobacco-flavored e-cigs would not be affected, to give smokers an alternative to regular cigarettes. “Those products tend to be less appealing to young people, McGinley notes. “The administration’s move comes as health officials across the country investigate more than 450 cases, including six deaths, of lung disease linked to vaping. Many patients have reported using cannabis-related products, but authorities have not ruled out any specific type of vaping.”