Washington, Jan 3 (IANS) The US Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of unauthorized flavoured cartridge-based e-cigarettes, including fruit and mint, in an attempt to reduce their use among children and youth.
The decision on Thursday, in which companies have 30 days to cease manufacture, distribution and sales, aims to reduce the “troubling epidemic” among youth, although for some sectors it is seen as a step back from the original plan of the President Donald Trump administration to ban all flavours.
“The US has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the FDA statement.
On September 11, 2019 Azar announced that the Trump administration planned to ban the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes except tobacco after the first deaths linked to their use were made public.
At that time, Trump, in statement from the Oval Office with Azar and other officials, said that vaping is a problem that especially affects “innocent children.”
In October, Juul, the largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the US, announced it was suspending sales of most of its flavours in the country ahead of the ban, although it anticipated that it would continue to manufacture tobacco and menthol flavours.
The same month, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering allowing the sale of some flavours so as not to put at risk the re-election of Trump, whose campaign team has warned of the electoral impact that the plan to ban all flavoured e-cigarettes would have amid possible job losses and voter backlash.
The report said Trump’s campaign chief Brad Parscale warned that the plan to reduce vaping among young people could hurt Trump in the 2020 election.
Groups working in the industry also created a pushback campaign called #IvapeIVote and #WeVapeWeVote.
In its statement, the FDA cited federal survey data to show that young people are particularly attracted to flavours such as fruit and mint, more so than to tobacco or menthol.
According to local media, 55 people have died across 27 states due to a lung illness linked to vaping.