The ban that the Trump Administration is pushing for would impact all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes, including menthol and mint, and would dramatically impact e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers. Companies would be able to re-introduced these banned products to the market, but only after going through the FDA’s pre-market authorization process which would not only take time but money and resources that many businesses simply wouldn’t be able to meet. It will take the FDA several weeks to develop these new guidelines.
Tobacco flavored e-cigarettes would remain on the market, a move that Azar says is aimed at adults that may want to use them in an effort to quit smoking traditional combustible cigarettes. If, however, tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes suddenly become popular among youth following the flavor ban, then those products would also be put under the same scrutiny and ban as flavored products.
Vaping and e-cigarettes have been under the microscope for the past year after former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called the increased use of vape and e-cigarette products among America’s youth an “epidemic.” In the past weeks, Gottlieb has re-emerged, calling for further action on the part of the FDA to stop the rising numbers of youth using e-cigarettes. Flavor bans have begun being passed in different states in response to the “epidemic” and Congress has begun examining the issue, with much of its scrutiny cast on JUUL Labs, the leading manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the U.S. The FDA recently sent a warning letter to JUUL Labs after accusing the company of misusing modified risks claims in its marketing [read more here].
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, issued the following statement in regards to the Trump Administration’s support of a ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products:
“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. 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. The President should meet with just one of the millions of American voters who have used flavors to quit smoking before moving forward on this draconian approach to regulation and public policy.
“Destroying thousands of small businesses and sending ex-smokers back to smoking will do nothing to stop drug dealers from selling contaminated THC cartridges. A flavor ban will only lead to the creation of yet another multibillion-dollar black market that will operate with zero safety controls.”
It should be noted that this proposed flavor ban would not impact flavored cigars. The FDA has previously announced plans to consider a ban on menthol cigarettes [read more here]. You can read the full press release from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services here.