White House Considers Action on Flavored Vape Products

FDA to issue new guidance to possibly ban certain flavors
Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump took up the subject of vaping on Sept. 11, suggesting his administration "may very well have to do something very, very strong about it." The statement led some to believe he may take action to ban the sale of flavored vaping products.

Trump made the remarks following a meeting with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, according to a Bloomberg report. Azar said a new guidance may soon emerge allowing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove flavored vaping products believed to appeal to children.

Five million children are using e-cigarette products, Azar said, calling it an “alarming” trend.

After meeting with Azar and Norman Sharpless, the acting FDA commissioner, Trump called vaping a “problem” and said several state and federal agencies have reported multiple cases of illnesses that could have come from the use of vaping products. Late last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced several initiatives and reports about the matter, saying that it believes at least three deaths were reportedly linked to e-cigarette use.

“Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect for children,” Trump told reporters at the White House, according to Bloomberg. “We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.”

Azar said the FDA would soon issue regulatory guidance allowing the agency to remove flavored vaping products that are believed to appeal to children, Bloomberg reported.

The CDC has said anyone who uses a vape device should consider stopping while public health officials investigate the cause of the condition.

In response to Trump’s remarks, Yael Ossowski, deputy director of Washington-based Consumer Choice Center, said Trump needed to understand the facts. “The technological revolution that is happening today with vaping is giving people a less harmful alternative to consume nicotine, the stimulant alkaloid that smokers are actually addicted to. That’s something to celebrate,” Ossowski said. “Trump needs to know that, as well as the fact that adult smokers are switching en masse to these new reduced-risk products and they’ve been proven to be 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. These individuals switch in part due to vaping flavors, and that should be kept in mind.”

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