Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

U.S. to restrict e-cigarette flavors to fight teenage vaping 'epidemic'

U.S. to restrict e-cigarette flavors to fight teenage vaping 'epidemic'

Now, the FDA is banning sales of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail stores and gas stations nationwide- in an effort to curb what they call an epidemic.

Gottlieb is also expected to propose a ban on menthol in regular cigarettes.

Preliminary government data shows e-cigarette sales have risen 77 percent among high schoolers and 50 percent among middle schoolers in 2018, which means that 3.5 million minors have been vaping throughout 2018.

E-cigarette products represent a small share of revenue for major tobacco companies, whereas Juul's business is built entirely on the vaping devices.

The state health department said banning flavored e-cigarettes would mostly impact retail businesses whose main focus is selling vaping products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to announce several changes as early as next week.

In a statement last week, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said some e-cigarette makers seemed to support raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products sales to 21 years, The Times reported. Revenue from e-cigarette devices made up less than 1 percent of British American Tobacco's global revenue for the first six months of 2018, according to a company filing from July.

At the same time, vaping devotees and "harm reduction" advocates have said e-cigarettes represent s powerful tool in helping adult smokers to quit more risky cigarettes.

Health advocates have anxious about the popularity of vaping products among kids, especially e-cigarettes with mint, fruit, chocolate or any number of other flavorings sold online and at convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops.

The FDA did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

"The big answer is we don't know, we have no idea what the long-term use of e-cigarettes is", Krugman said.

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