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Local response to proposed federal ban on flavored e-cigarette products

The Trump administration is planning to clear the market of flavored e-cigarette products in response to a spike in youth e-cigarette use.

The Trump administration is planning to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes. According to the FDA, the decision comes as preliminary numbers from the National Youth Tobacco Survey show more than a quarter of high school students were current e-cigarette users in 2019.

President Donald Trump told reporters, "We can't allow people to get sick and we can't have our youth be so affected."

On Twitter, Alex Azar the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wrote in part, "New provisional data show that youth use continues to rise rapidly, and we will not stand idly by."

Azar added, "While the current plan is to not include tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, if data show kids migrating to tobacco-flavored products, we will do what’s necessary to tackle continued youth use of these products."

Dr. Andrew Hyland, chairman of the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park, said flavors are the number one reason kids say they use e-cigarettes and he believes the flavor ban would reduce e-cigarette use in young people. However, he also told 2 On Your Side the severe respiratory illnesses we've seen connected to vaping are a separate issue. 

"Based on my reading of the evidence, it's really tainted THC oil is what these people are vaping so a flavored e-cigarette ban isn't gonna do a whole lot for that," Hyland said.

That's not the only reason the idea is getting mixed reactions.

"I think for kids there's gonna be some benefit," Hyland said. "For adults, it might have some harm ... It might diminish quitting."

Thomas Snider, the co-owner of Cloud Chasers Vapor Lounge in Depew, told 2 On Your Side the bulk of their customers are people trying to quit smoking. He said the flavor ban would put them out of business.

"90 percent of what we sell here is flavored products," Snider explained.

The restrictions would permit the sale of tobacco flavored products, for now. 

"The flavor of a tobacco e-cigarette is not as satisfying as a cigarette to a smoker so they're gonna be right back," Snider said. "The flavors are instrumental in getting adult smokers to quit smoking cigarettes."

At this point, the FDA is still working on finalizing the guidelines for removing the products. 

Statement from the New York State Vapor Association:

"We're very disappointed that President Trump and NY Governor Cuomo have fallen for and perpetuated 'fake news.' Evidence shows black market THC tainted with thick oil is causing the lung crisis in the US. Nicotine e-liquid has been on the market for 12 years with no issues except health improvement for smokers. With a stroke of a pen, pushed by Bloomberg millions, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco interests, millions of smokers will go back to smoking, try to do it themselves, or buy illegally which is exactly why this problem happened. All bad news for public health."

Part of the statement from the American Vaping Association:

“We are deeply disappointed in the President’s decision to take direction from anti-vaping activists like Mike Bloomberg by attempting to ban the sale of nearly every vaping product on the market. A ban will remove life-changing options from the market that have been used by several million American adults to quit smoking."

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