WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials will ban most
The Trump administration announced Thursday that it will prohibit fruit, candy, mint and dessert
Together, the two exemptions represent a significant retreat from President Donald Trump’s original plan announced four months ago, which would have banned all vaping
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that typically heat a
The Food and Drug Administration has struggled for years to find the appropriate approach to regulating vaping. Under current law, all e-cigarettes are supposed to undergo an FDA review beginning in May. Only those that can demonstrate a benefit for U.S. public health will be permitted to stay on the market.
“We have to protect our families,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, ahead of the announcement. “At the same time, it’s a big industry. We want to protect the industry.”
Still, the new policy represents the federal government’s biggest step yet to combat a surge in teen vaping that officials fear is hooking a generation of young people on nicotine. In the latest government survey, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month, despite federal law banning sales to those under 18. Late last month Trump signed a law raising the minimum age to purchase all tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21 nationwide.
“We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. Companies that don’t stop making and distributing the restricted products within 30 days risk penalties by the FDA, including fines and seizures.
Incoming FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the government’s approach attempts to balance the problem of underage vaping with “the potential role that e-cigarettes may play in helping adult smokers transition completely away” from regular cigarettes.
But the decision to permit menthol and exempt tank-based vapes was immediately condemned by anti-tobacco advocates who have lobbied the Trump administration to follow through on its initial pledge to ban all
“Only the elimination of all
Myers’ group and others have long opposed all
When Trump officials first sketched out their plans at a White House event in September they specifically said menthol would be banned. But that effort stalled after vaping proponents and lobbyists pushed back and White House advisers told Trump that a total
Industry groups including the Vapor Technology Association launched an aggressive social media campaign — #IVapeIVote — contending that the plan would force the closure of vaping shops, eliminating jobs and sending users of electronic cigarettes back to traditional smokes.
Trump’s initial announcement came amid an outbreak of unexplained lung illnesses tied to vaping. But since then health officials have tied the vast majority of the cases to a contaminating filler added to illicit THC vaping liquids. THC is the chemical in marijuana that makes users feel high. Makers of legal nicotine-based vaping products have tried to distance themselves from the problem.
Trump suggested ahead of the announcement that the
“Hopefully, if everything’s safe, they’re going to be going very quickly back onto the market,” he told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press