(WJHL)- The Trump Administration might ban some flavored vaping products.
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to come out with an official advisory but more information will likely be released later this week.
Less than two weeks after raising the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21, the president is expected to announce a federal ban on non-refillable, flavored vaping pods. That includes products like JUUL that are popular among teens.
The ban is not expected to impact open tank systems, like those usually sold in vape shops.
“We’ve already restricted youth access by T-21. It just went into effect,” said Dave Nelson, the owner of Rocky Top Vapor. “It [the partial ban] is pretty excessive but at least they show that they identify the products that the teens use versus the ones that the adults are using.”
President Trump appears to be backing off the sweeping ban of all flavored products pitched by the administration after a surge in a vaping-related illness that the CDC has linked, in most cases, to illicit THC cartridges.
“We have to protect our families. At the same time, it’s a big industry, we need to protect the industry,” President Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
The pivot has angered some public health organizations. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids issued a statement following his comments, arguing the president broke his promise to kids and families to side with the industry.
It reads, in part:
The evidence is clear that flavored e-cigarettes are driving the youth epidemic. Most youth e-cigarettes users use flavored products and cite flavors as a key reason for their use. Only the elimination of all flavored e-cigarettes can end the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and stop e-cigarette companies from luring and addicting kids with flavored products.Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
The looming threat of the total ban, which would only leave menthol and tobacco flavors on the market, has already impacted Tri-Cities vendors.
“A lot of people are apprehensive to even start vaping to quit smoking because they don’t know if the products are actually going to be available,” Nelson said. “We’ve had to significantly reduce our manufacturing of e-liquids.”
Grady Mask, the owner of Vapor 42, said a sweeping ban would put them out of business but only prohibiting flavored pods would have a minimal impact.
“You’re probably looking at somewhere between a 10 to 15 percent decrease in sales. It’s not something that’s going to hurt us and it will be something that will be overcome by people who are wanting to stay off cigarettes with vaping products,” Mask said.
A recent order from the FDA could still force many flavors off the market. As of August 2019, manufacturers are required to submit extensive applications to show their products benefit public health.
Nelson said they have to submit an application for each of their 200-plus flavors to keep them on the shelves.
“The testing for even a single product is over a million dollars so, us being a small vape shop, we don’t have the million dollars to actually complete the testing,” Nelson said.
The applications are due in May 2020. Nelson said ongoing lawsuits against the FDA may change that.