FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

FDA seeks to ban menthol cigarettes and crack down on flavored vapes

And so what we're trying to do is make the traditional cigarettes less attractive for adult smokers and try to migrate adult smokers hopefully off of nicotine altogether, and for those who still want to get access to nicotine through an inhaled route, perhaps through an e-cigarette, which I think most people recognize represents the potential for a modified risk alternative to traditional smoking, to traditional cigarettes. "We'll take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing".

The agency cited survey data showing that mint and menthol flavors were more popular with adult e-cigarette users than teenagers.

Data released Thursday by the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a 78 percent increase in high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, compared with the prior year.

A woman smokes a Juul e-cigarette in New York, US, Sept. 27, 2018. Other fruity- or sweet-flavored varieties can now only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online merchants that use age-verification checks. Under the policy, all-ages stores such as gas stations and convenience stories can no longer sell flavored vapes in full view of minors.

The restrictions are aimed mainly at reducing smoking in kids: About half of teens who smoke cigarettes choose menthols, and flavored e-cigarettes have been blamed for a recent increase in teen vaping rates.

Battery-powered e-cigarettes are more popular among teens than regular smokes and are considered safer. About 3.6 million kids and teenagers in the US vape, the FDA says.

The primary concern most experts have about youth e-cigarette use is that most of these products contain nicotine, which is addictive, says Jonathan Klein, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of IL at Chicago.

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The battery-powered devices heat a nicotine liquid that users inhale, and are gaining popularity in the United States and overseas, particularly among young people, which Gottlieb has previously described as an "epidemic".

Industry insiders expected the 2016 rule to place restrictions on flavored tobacco products.

"Commissioner Gottlieb clearly understands the important role e-cigarettes, specifically flavored products, play in transitioning adult smokers off of deadly, unsafe combustible cigarettes", Abboud said in a statement. To the extent that teenagers who would otherwise be smoking are vaping instead, that should count as a public health victory.

Although the agency said it isn't proposing revisions to regulations for mint and menthol flavors in e-cigarettes at this time, it has to address the impact that menthol has on the public health. But some say adult smokers switching to e-cigarettes have also helped drive down the rate in recent years.

"Our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products", CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. So I don't - I don't know where you're getting that statement from that we said there was going to be an outright ban.

Juul's announcement followed reports last week that the FDA was planning to ban most flavored products. "But intent is not enough, the numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarette products is a problem".

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