“We’re going to protect our families, we’re going to protect our children and we’re going to protect the industry,” President Donald Trump told reporters at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday, adding that some products could “very quickly” return to the market.
The ban is meant to allow for more research on the products, Trump said. It will apply to flavored cartridges but not tank systems that are sold in vape shops.
Trump administration officials announced in September the US Food and Drug Administration would try to curb a youth vaping epidemic by stripping all flavors except tobacco from the market. US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at the time that flavored-product manufacturers would also have the opportunity to file for approval from the FDA, but their products would be off the market until approved.
Questions and criticism have followed since then.
Health and anti-tobacco advocacy groups have urged the Trump administration to take all flavored products, including menthol, off the market.
In a statement on Tuesday, Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the reported Trump administration policy “falls woefully short of the bold action the Administration promised.”
“By leaving menthol flavored e-cigarettes widely available and totally exempting liquid flavored products, this policy will not stop the youth e-cigarette epidemic. It is a capitulation to both Juul and vape shops and gives a green light to the e-cigarette industry to continue to target and addict kids with flavored products,” Myers’ statement said in part.
Stanton Glantz, director of University of California, San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, said that the reported sales ban is “better than nothing” to curb youth vaping, but likely will have less of an impact than the outright flavor ban originally promised.
“It is a step forward. Although menthol is by far and away the most important flavor and what the evidence is showing is when you get rid of the other flavors, kids just go to menthol,” Glantz said.
Additionally, “the fact that they are exempting the tank systems is very concerning because there is even less quality control on the tank systems than the closed systems,” he said, noting that tank systems are currently a “relatively small” part of the vaping market.
In December, the sweeping spending bill President Donald Trump signed into law included a measure that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. As of last week, the FDA said on its website, “it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”
CNN’s Michael Nedelman and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.