Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced today that the FDA will ban flavored vaping products. The move came after a White House meeting between President Trump, Azar, and FDA Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless. Trump spoke to reporters about the decision.
“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.
Lately, the various bans and restrictions being implemented across the U.S. have put a sudden damper on new businesses that sprang up in recent years to sell vaping products and accessories.
So far, about a dozen U.S. states and cities have taken, or are considering steps, to limit access to e-cigarette products. On Friday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee became the latest to join the fray, asking the state’s health department to ban flavored vaping products – including flavored THC products. Recreational marijuana use is legal in Washington.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered an emergency ban on sales of flavored e-cigarettes that health officials will begin to enforce on Oct. 4. Retailers who flout the ban could face fines of as much as $2,000 per violation. Cuomo plans to push legislators to pass a permanent ban on the products next year; the emergency restrictions are in place for 90 days.
Cuomo’s order is “devastating” for the industry, said Spike Babaian, technical analysis director of the New York State Vapor Association. She said her group has told lawmakers that there’s a risk that vapers will now return to smoking cigarettes.
“It’s a mix of shock and anger and sadness,” said John Nathan, president of the New England Vapor Technology Association.