The U.S. administration Thursday declared a ban on some popular e-cigarette flavors, including fruit and mint, to curb escalating teenage use of vaping products, permitting only menthol and tobacco flavors to stay on the market.
The block came under immediate criticism from public health advocates who stated it does not go far enough.
However, Alex Azar, the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary, called the strategy a “smart, focused policy that protects our kids without creating pointless interruption.”
The flavor ban applies to cartridge-based e-cigarettes, which generally use disposable pods filled with liquid nicotine and are often bought in convenience shops. It doesn’t apply to most e-cigarette liquids, which are purchased separately, a spread most often offered in vape shops, and utilized in so-called open tank e-cigarettes.
Representative Frank Pallone, the Democratic chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Panel, which has begun probes into e-cigarette producers, dismissed the impact of the ban.
President Donald Trump’s government in September proposed a sweeping ban on all e-cigarette and vaping flavors that are seen as drawing millions of younger users to addictive nicotine products.
That plan would have prevented all e-cigarette flavors besides tobacco. However, Trump later expressed concerns that enacting the ban might result in an underground market for unlawful vaping products and potential job losses.
U.S. e-cigarette industry giant Juul Labs, which is 35%-owned by Marlboro-maker Altria, over the past year, has stopped fruit, dessert, and mint nicotine flavors from retail stores and its website in the U.S. amid intensified scrutiny of the surge in youthful use.