FDA seeking to restrict access to flavored e-cigarettes, ban menthol


A top US health official is pledging to try to ban menthol from regular cigarettes, outlaw flavors in all cigars and tighten rules regarding the sale of most flavored versions of e-cigarettes.

The reason mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are not included is they are more popular with adults who may be using them to decrease or stop their use of traditional cigarettes. He also proposed beefing up measures so that convenience stores and some other retailers don't sell e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors like cherry and vanilla.

Gottlieb called for additional steps to prevent the marketing of e-cigarettes directly to kids and online sales to minors.

"If the choices are between being addicted to a toxic smoke product like a cigarette or being able to be addicted to nicotine, then I'd much rather you were addicted to nicotine in a less harmful delivery like an e-cigarette", he says.

E-cigarettes also expose users to toxic heavy metals, according to the NASEM report, as well as cancer-causing chemicals-though in most cases at lower levels than traditional cigarettes. To date, 3.6 million students are now vaping. Vaping products, including e-liquids, may now be sold only in stores that can verify the age of customers. They are widely believe to be less harmful than combustible cigarettes, but the long-term health consequences of using the devices are unknown.

Scott Gottlieb of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration disclosed the plans on Thursday.

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From 2017 to 2018, there was a 78 per cent increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48 percent increase among middle school students.

Well, I don't think we ever said that was going to be an outright ban on the e-cigarettes.

BAT said that while "flavors play an important role in an adult smoker's transition out of smoking, we understand the FDA's concern that some flavors can play a role in increasing youth appeal". "All the flavors were out there already", said Kenneth Warner, a University of MI emeritus public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health. Some focus on the potential benefit of shifting lifelong smokers to less harmful nicotine products, while others fear it will create a new generation addicted to nicotine.

The FDA has taken earlier steps to investigate the marketing of e-cigarettes by Juul and other companies.

U.S. federal agencies now plan to prohibit the sale of sweet-flavoured electronic cigarette liquid at convenience stores and gas stations. "Prevalence of menthol use is even higher among African-American youth, with data showing that seven out of 10 African-American youth smokers select menthol cigarettes".

The e-cigarettes measures will probably face little opposition, but Gottlieb "has guts" to pursue a menthol prohibition because it will draw political and legal fire from the tobacco industry and its supporters, Warner said.