White House Moves to Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes

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A recent increase in underage vaping is among the reasons for the ban, pending an FDA examination of the health effects, Azar said.

Trump's first public comments on vaping come as USA officials investigate hundreds of breathing problems in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.

In 2014, the Royal College of Physicians after a study stated that "e-cigarette aerosol contains far fewer carcinogens than tobacco smoke, and concluded that e-cigarettes "impart a lower potential disease burden" than traditional cigarettes". More than 450 people have been hospitalized with serious respiratory distress and six people have died, including a 55-year-old man in Los Angeles County. To be safe, public health officials are cautioning people against vaping anything until they know for sure.

Azar then said that new data from the National Youth Tobacco survey shows "a continued surging" in e-cigarette use among teens and that young users are specifically drawn to the many flavors now on the market, like mint and candy. The jarring rate at which teens have adopted devices like the compact, easy-to-hide one made by Juul Labs Inc. has made health officials in Washington and around the country snap to attention. The new policy would allow the FDA to remove flavored products from the market.

The Vapor Technology Association said in a statement the flavor ban would force smokers "to choose between smoking again. or finding what they want and need on the black market".

But bans also deprive adults addicted to smoking of a valuable tool to quit, the industry says. But that law did not apply to e-cigarettes, which were then a tiny segment of the tobacco market. At that time, flavored-product manufacturers would also have the opportunity to file, but their products would be off the market until approved.

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It's something Ottawa's Medical Health Officer will ask of the Board of Health on Monday, along with a recommendation to require plain and standardized packaging on vaping products.

Meanwhile, the FDA is finalizing instructions to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes within 30 days. The public-health agency said on Friday that the lung-injury cases were appearing most often in people who used vaping products containing THC. Anti-vaping advocates criticized that decision, pointing to survey data showing more than half of teens who vape use mint and menthol.

Trump's announcement received bipartisan support, including from his longtime Republican critic and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and several Democrats including Senate whip Dick Durbin, who commended the FDA for "doing its job". Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who has prodded the agency for months to take action on flavors.

That said, it's unclear why these cases have only been reported in the United States, and whether they are even new, or only being recognized after earlier misdiagnoses.

"To deprive those smokers from access to e-cigarettes, which we know are substantially less harmful, I think is a awful decision", Neil McKeganey, of the UK-based Center for Substance Use Research - which is partly funded by the industry - told AFP.

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