WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump announced Wednesday that his administration will move to ban flavored electronic cigarettes in order to reduce a spike in vaping by minors.
The Food and Drug Administration is tasked with creating a plan to remove e-cigarette flavors other than tobacco from the market according to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
“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.”
Trump expressed concerns about a lack of knowledge and research when it comes to the risks associated with vaping.
“A lot of people think vaping is wonderful, is great … It’s really not,” President Trump said. “We have to find out the extent of the problems… it’s so new … but we’re going to find out.”
First Lady Melania Trump, who sat next to the president while he made the announcement, has taken on a variety of child welfare issues. She voiced her concerns about underage vaping on Twitter earlier this week.
“I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children,” the First Lady said. “We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth. @HHSGov
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 9, 2019
The American Vaping Association expressed disappointment over the White House’s plan to curb flavored vape sales and implied the president was succumbing to the will of activists.
“We are deeply disappointed in the President’s decision to take direction from anti-vaping activists like Mike Bloomberg by attempting to ban the sale of nearly every vaping product on the market,” the association said in a press release. “A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking. In the history of the United States, prohibition has never worked. It didn’t work with alcohol. It hasn’t worked with marijuana. It won’t work with e-cigarettes.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came out in support of the White House’s plan. Last week, Michigan became the first state to ban flavored e-cigs.
“This is great news for our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” Gov. Whitmer said in a statement. “Right now, companies are getting our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing flavors like apple juice, bubble gum, and candy.”
Although the ramifications President Trump’s decision will have on the cannabis industry are not yet known, momentum could be building for state bans of cannabis vaping products. While cannabis already is illegal at the federal level, states with legal medicinal and recreational cannabis programs may take action against flavored vape products.
The new flavored electronic cigarette regulations are not expected to be fully implemented for several weeks. It is unclear if any of these new regulations will address cannabis vape products which recently have been a focal point in the nation’s vape-related illness epidemic.