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As part of a continuing effort to battle the increasing epidemic of teen vaping in the U.S., federal health officials may ban most flavored electronic cigarette products in the next few days.
The New York Times reports that FDA intends to announce a flavored vaping ban within the next week, which will prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes, pods and all flavored liquid nicotine products in convenience stores.
According to the report, a senior FDA official indicates the agency will prohibit the sale of fruit and candy-flavored e-cigarettes from retail stores and gas stations, with the intent to stop children and young adults from having the products readily accessible. The ban will also mandate any online sales of electronic delivery systems and flavored nicotine products require an age verification process to ensure minors cannot directly purchase and have the devices shipped to their homes.
FDA officials released a comprehensive tobacco plan in September, which outlined the agency’s support of electronic cigarettes as a way to help adults transitional away from the traditional burning of tobacco to a cleaner and temporary e-cigarette solution to quit smoking. However, the FDA has become aware of an increasing problem involving youth vaping addiction across the U.S., spurred by the growing popularity of candy-flavored e-cigarettes and JUUL pods designed to hide vapors released by the device.
Recently, the FDA indicated youth e-cigarette use has reached epidemic levels as vaping has become the most popular form of tobacco use among the nation’s youth. Surveys have found one in seven children in middle school and high school have reported using an electronic nicotine device within the last 30 days. The agency says advertising and products targeted directly at children and teens is partially to blame.
E-cigarette devices are not only growing in popularity, but also getting stronger in nicotine concentration. A recent study released in the medical journal The BMJ, discovered vaping pods such as Juul deliver nicotine in a modified salt form that is highly addictive and contain more than twice the nicotine concentration of traditional cigarettes.
The FDA has also launched a social media campaign discouraging teen smoking and vaping. The agency has also warned e-cigarette manufacturers to change their marketing strategies, which are believed to be targeting teenagers with colorful products and candy flavored nicotine.
In September, the FDA sent letters to five major e-cigarette manufacturers, including JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, and Logic, indicating that all of them had products that were sold to children during the enforcement blitz. The FDA requested that the companies send plans to the agency within 60 days describing how they intended to prevent widespread youth access to their products. The notice informed the companies if strategies were not submitted, the FDA would consider banning some or all of their flavored vaping products.