FDA Issues Flavored Vape Pod Ban – But It’s Limited

In September 2019, as report after report of Juul and vaping-related injuries rolled in throughout the United States, President Trump and his top health officials announced they would be taking “very, very strong” action against the vaping epidemic, including a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. On January 2, 2020, the FDA published the details of this ban, targeting flavored cartridge-based nicotine pods – with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavors, as well as flavored liquid nicotine for open tank systems.

Experts see this federal vape cartridge ban as a partial victory for both sides.

“By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth,” said Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The ban on flavored pods and cartridges targets products aimed at children, like candy, fruit and other sweet flavors.

However, Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids thinks the ban doesn’t go far enough. He believes leaving tobacco and menthol flavors on the market is still dangerous. “This policy is one that was dictated by the e-cigarette industry,” he said. “Decades of experience with menthol cigarettes demonstrate that menthol appeals to kids … there is no public health justification for allowing continued sales of menthol e-cigarettes.”

The FDA’s decision means that any manufacturer offering certain vaping products in kid-friendly flavors must halt sales within 30 days of the ban. To resume sales, they must prove to the FDA that their product is both safe and appropriate for the public to consume.

Youth and vaping

According to the CDC, flavoring in tobacco products makes it more appealing to young people. And, in 2019, over five million students used e-cigarettes. More than one in four students report they use e-cigarettes every day.

The recent passage of the federal “Tobacco 21” legislation making it illegal to sell any nicotine product to individuals under the age of 21 also hopes to stem the teen vaping epidemic.

Because vaping, whether it’s nicotine, THC or any other flavored liquid, is still a relatively new phenomenon, the research simply doesn’t exist about long-term effects and injury. Thousands of people have developed a lung illness called EVALI from vaping, and 54 people died from their injuries. This ban is an important first step in regulating these hazardous products.

If you’ve suffered a vaping-related injury, it’s important to speak to an experienced lawyer right away. The product liability attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC can help you seek compensation for your losses. Call us at 803-327-7800 or reach out to us through our contact page. We maintain offices throughout South Carolina.

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