The government lead by Donald Trump announced on Thursday the ban in the United States of most flavored cartridges for electronic cigarettes, without reaching the total ban he had committed in September.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that as of February sales of flavored e-cigarette cartridges other than tobacco and menthol will not be allowed unless they have obtained specific authorization from the authorities.
The goal is to prevent vaping among the youngest, said health secretary Alex Azar.
The tobacco and vaping industry mobilized throughout the fall to pressure Trump to reverse his commitment, warning him of the potential cost of jobs in the sector and votes during the next presidential elections.
At the end of November, Congress passed a law that increased the minimum age to buy vaping products from 18 to 21 years, which will take effect after summer.
The commitment announced on Thursday by the FDA will initially leave electronic cigarettes available to the market that do not work with these types of cartridges and sold primarily in vape stores.
“It is the cartridge and capsule systems that created the problem, that is what attracts children,” Azar said in a conference call. “Children mostly do not use open tank systems.”
“Our goal is to see if electronic cigarettes can serve as an outlet for adult smokers who are addicted to combustible (conventional) cigarettes, we believe it is a possibility,” he said.
The same minister had announced after a meeting at the Oval Office with Trump, in September, that all flavors that target non-smokers, including menthol, would be banned, with the goal to stop vaping among young people.
Last year, there was an increased volume of serious and in some cases fatal lung diseases which were linked to vaping which increased the general concern caused by the success companies like Juul and their popularity among young people.
It is reported that 27.5% of all high school students surveyed said they had vaped in the last 30 days, this is according to the 2019 government tobacco survey, that compares with 11.3% recorded in 2016.
In December, the US Congress voted to raise the legal age of buying electronic cigarettes to 21 years, which should apply throughout the United States. This is currently being adopted and only 19 of the 50 states have so far complied.
From now on, flavored electronic cigarette cartridges other than tobacco and menthol will be banned throughout the US. And the manufacturers, if they wish to continue the sale of flavored cartridges, may request authorization to distribute them.
As for all other products, which include custom mixes of e-liquid, manufacturers, distributors, and vape stores must submit a request for authorization before May. If they do, then they can continue with their sales up to 12 months after the application is submitted.
Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s tobacco center said “(this scheme) should have a minimal impact on vaping stores”, he was referring to those stores that focus on tank vapers and that follow the correct methods to ensure their customers are of the correct age.