Trump administration joins Gov. Whitmer in calling for flavored vape ban

Sep 11, 2019 at 2:19 pm
click to enlarge Trump administration joins Gov. Whitmer in calling for flavored vape ban

President Donald Trump and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have found something in common: They both want to ban vaping.

A week after Michigan’s governor announced that Michigan would become the first state to ban flavored e-liquids, Trump’s administration said it’s doing the same.

"The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement to the media Wednesday. "We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth."

Whitmer applauded the Trump administration's move to ban vaping.

"I'm glad this administration is doing the right thing and following Michigan’s lead to ban flavored vaping products," Whitmer said in a statement. "This is great news for our kids, our families, and our overall public health. Right now, companies are getting our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing flavors like apple juice, bubble gum, and candy. Banning these flavors is a bold step that will keep our kids healthy and safe from the harmful effects of vaping. I’m proud that Michigan has been a leader on this issue, and I’m ready to continue working to protect our kids and our public health." 

The calls for a ban on flavored e-liquids and e-cigarettes come amid an outbreak of a mysterious, vaping-related lung illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 450 possible cases of severe lung injury in 33 states, including Michigan.

The latest research, however, suggests that the diseases may not be related to vaping nicotine and are more likely linked to marijuana oils, specifically Vitamin E acetate.

It is believed that the oil could potentially coat the lungs when it cools down. Since vitamin E acetate is not approved for use in New York's medical marijuana program and was not found in the nicotine vaping products tested, that could point to DIY cannabis products, or "home brews," as the culprit. Still, though officials have called the discovery of vitamin E acetate a "key focus" in their research, they caution that the investigation is ongoing and includes testing a range of chemicals, including nicotine, additives, pesticides, and more.

Despite the connection to marijuana, Michigan has not cautioned users about vaping cannabis.

To ban vaping products, Azar said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would soon issue regulatory guidance to force businesses to stop selling e-liquids and e-cigarettes.

Under Michigan’s ban
, which is expected to go into effect in a couple of weeks, anyone possessing four or more vaping products could be sentenced up to four years in prison. But vape store owners are expected to file suit against the state, claiming the ban was illegally imposed.

It's not yet clear when a nationwide ban would take effect.

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