GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) A nationwide ban has been placed on all flavored e-cigarette and vaping cartridges except menthol and tobacco.
The FDA announced the ban on Thursday.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, vape companies have 30 days from when the new policy is published in the federal register to cease manufacturing and distributing all flavored cartridges except menthol and tobacco.
The ban does not apply to tank vaping systems which are common at vape shops.
According to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the U.S. has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as the current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes.
“By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth. We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary,” said Azar in the announcement Thursday.
In the future, any company who wishes to manufacture and distribute a flavored cartridge or pod must first submit an application to the FDA for pre-market authorization.
The ban is another move by the Trump administration to address youth smoking and vaping.
Last month, the legal age to buy tobacco was raised to 21.
Tobacco use among youth:
According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the amount of middle and high school students who have admitted to using electronic cigarettes (in the past 30 days) has increased from 2011 to 2019.
In 2019, 1 in 10 middle school students (10.5%) admitted to using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, an increase from 0.6% in 2011.
Among high school students, in 2019 more than 1 in 4 students (27.5%) admitted to using an e-cigarette in the last 30 days, an increase from 1.5% in 2011.
Contrary to electronic cigarette use, cigarette use is down among students.
In 2019, only 2.3% of middle schoolers admitted to smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days.
That number is down from 4.3% in 2011.
A similar trend among high schoolers shows a decrease from 15.8% in 2011 to 5.8% in 2019.
Here is an infographic from the CDC’s website detailing tobacco use among high school students in 2019.
Why are teens turning to tobacco products?
There is a multitude of reasons for teens wanting to use tobacco products ranging from mental health to social pressures.
Studies show teens are more like to use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes if they see other people their age using them.
According to an article by the CDC, about 69% of middle and high school students were exposed to e-cigarette advertisements in retail stores, on the Internet, in magazines/newspapers, or on TV/movies.
In terms of mental health, there is a strong relationship between teen vaping/smoking an depression, anxiety, and stress.
Other reasons include low self-esteem, peer pressure, or lower socioeconomic status.
For more statistics and information on youth vaping and smoking, read the comprehensive CDC article here.