Amid vaping-related lung illnesses and multiple deaths around the United States, President Donald Trump’s administration is gearing up to ban flavored e-cigarettes nationwide, officials announced Wednesday.
U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said that the Trump administration is preparing the ban and will soon issue new regulatory guidance over vapes. Azar said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has started to finalize plans to take flavored e-cigarettes off of the market entirely.
“Nobody knows too much about it, but they do know it’s causing a lot of problems,” Trump said about vaping during a White House appearance Wednesday. “People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes but it turns out that it has its own difficulties.”
President Trump: "We have a problem in our country. It's a new problem. It's a problem nobody really thought about too much a few years ago and it's called vaping, especially vaping as it pertains to innocent children." pic.twitter.com/jy6msEPcNn
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 11, 2019
Azar said that five million children in the United States use e-cigarettes, and the ban on kid-friendly flavors is an attempt to reduce that number.
“Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect for children,” Trump said Wednesday. “We may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.”
Six vaping-related deaths have been confirmed in six states. Authorities believe certain vaping products — including THC-infused cartridges — can cause rapid and severe lung-related illnesses that ultimately lead to these deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that as of September 6, more than 450 possible vaping-related diseases had been reported spanning 33 states.
Officials are looking at vitamin E oil that is added to some THC vaping cartridges as a possible cause. Patients have reported a variety of symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, fatigue, and fever.
The CDC said that it, along with the FDA, is investigating the outbreak of “severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated