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Wright County News

Posted on: January 7, 2020

Feds Take Another Big Step In Combatting Vaping Among Children

The tightening of regulation on the vaping industry is continuing to change the landscape of e-cigarettes.

Last month, President Donald Trump signed into law an act of Congress to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco/e-cigarette products from 18 to 21. Now it has been a taken a step further.

The Trump Administration announced late last week that vaping products that have fruit, mint and other non-traditional tobacco flavors will have to be removed from store shelves by Feb. 1. At that time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will begin to take enforcement action.

While stressing it is not a ban, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the e-cigarettes should serve as an “off-ramp” for adults to transition away from conventional smoking, not be the introduction to a generation of new smokers. Azar added that all vape products are currently deemed to be illegal because they are being sold without ever having been given FDA approval. E-cigarettes are only allowed to be sold because the FDA can use its enforcement discretion if it is deemed a ban is needed.

The removal of the flavored e-cigarette cartridges (most commonly sold under the brand name JUUL) and vaping pods does not include tobacco or menthol flavored cartridges or tank-based systems sold in vape shops, since they were deemed not to be popular among kids and teenagers and are overwhelmingly sold to adults.

According to the most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2019 more than 5 million kids and teens used e-cigarettes, an increase from 3.6 million in 2018. In the same survey, it was determined that more than 1 million minors use e-cigarettes daily.

The fight to make it more difficult for youngsters to have access to tobacco products and e-cigarettes has been a grass roots effort that started with individual cities, counties and states to enact their own ordinances/laws if the federal government or, in the case of cities and counties, their state government, decided not to enact legislation. However, with the federal government now on board, the speed of making significant change in addressing the issue of children and vaping is picking up traction.

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