Vaping and smoking e-cigarettes has been a hot topic of controversial issues for a while now. As more health problems arise – allegedly the result of vaping – the debate on whether to regulate the products has become more intense, especially regarding children using and becoming addicted to the goods. The Trump administration had considered banning flavored electronic cigarettes, or vape liquid, but backed off recently due to political backlash. Now, however, a revised version has been approved which prohibits the sale of most flavored vape juice excluding tobacco and mint.
The FDA has banned cartridge-based nicotine pods but will allow the sale of tank-based flavored nicotine liquids. Tanks are used to manually fill e-cigarettes and are more popular among adults. The new law gives businesses thirty days to end production and sales.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said, “The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was “a total of 2,561 cases of hospitalized e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury or deaths” as of Dec. 27. The CDC reported 55 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states and the District of Columbia. A National Youth Tobacco Survey for 2019 found that mint and menthol were the second most popular flavor after fruit among high school teens. In fact, the majority of e-cigarette sales in 2019 were of the fruity variety.
Azar asserted, “HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally.” The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act does provide some guidelines and abilities to the FDA for regulating the making of and consumption of tobacco products, but are they taking their authority too far? Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. explains:
“Our current regulatory and legal scheme surrounding nicotine gives the FDA extremely broad latitude over rule-making in this area. I see no provision in the Constitution which does allow for these regulations, but so far, the courts have not agreed with that interpretation. Surely the companies who lose out with this new rule will press for a new answer that grants them the right to sell their wares, and we would all benefit from a new decision allowing greater freedom to buy and sell, without the coercive hand of the state intervening.”
Manufacturers are obviously not pleased by this newest law, and the move probably didn’t do Trump any favors, especially in swing states, by those opposed to the ban. In December, the president also signed a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 21, which includes e-cigarettes and cigars.
Will removing fruit-flavored vape juice help reduce the number of teens vaping? Will manufacturers take the matter to a higher level and fight for their rights to produce and sell their goods? How will this affect the economy and how many people will lose their jobs?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.