Sept. 11 (UPI) — The Trump administration said Wednesday it will impose a ban against non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette products, in the wake of several deaths in the United States doctors have linked to vaping.
The Health and Human Services Department outlined the plan to eliminate “unauthorized” flavored e-cigarette products from the market.
“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. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said compounds in e-cigarettes may be linked to six deaths and some 450 hospitalizations in 33 states in recent weeks.
“We are going to have to do something about it,” President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office, adding that first lady Melania Trump also has been involved in the issue.
“She’s got a son,” he said, referring to 13-year-old Barron Trump. “She feels very strongly about it.”
“I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children,” Melania Trump tweeted Monday. “We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”
Azar told reporters the Food and Drug Administration will issue guidance on how to take flavored e-cigarette products off the market.
A joint investigation by the CDC and FDA said vitamin E oil, or tocopheryl acetate, may be the compound to blame for the vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
The New York State Department of Health last week first identified “very high levels of vitamin E acetate” showing up in nearly all the cannabis-containing vape cartridges linked to 34 patients who submitted a product for testing, the agency said.
“Most of these severe cases, so far, appear to be symptoms that can occur when either oils or lipid-containing substances enter lungs,” former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted Sunday. “This points to illegal products that are being cut with dangerous chemicals as a culprit.”