Trump Considers Going Back On Flavor Ban Reversal
New Recommendations By The FDA Have Prompted The Administration To Reconsider Ban On Flavored Vapor Products
The vaping industry has faced a hostile regulatory climate as states and municipalities across the United States implement various forms of legislation restricting adult smokers’ access to vapor products. For months the Trump Administration had been publicly weighing implementing a national ban on flavored vapor products until announcing in mid-November that the administration currently had no plans to enact such a ban.
The vaping community enjoyed a little over a month of consistent direction at the federal level until late December, when the administration began reviewing policy guidance provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The guidance had been previously provided to the administration in an earlier form before the administration announced that plans for a flavor ban were shelved for the time being.
Anti-vaping activists have long championed bans on all flavored vapor products, claiming flavors like “coffee” are forcing children to compulsively vape and become lifelong nicotine addicts. Members of the vaping community have repeatedly cited current research indicating claims of youth vaping are dramatically overstated and overblown. They also note that forcing vapers to continue associating nicotine with tobacco products it only reinforces the negative cycle of tobacco addiction they’re working to free themselves from.
A lack of clear direction at the federal level has forced state and local lawmakers to implement a series of various restrictions of their own, creating an economic and regulatory nightmare for the vaping community. A patchwork of permissive and restrictive regulations has led to vapers needing to sometimes travel great distances to acquire essential juice, as unaffected localities boom with all the new customers being forced there.
Changing Course, Again
In September, the Trump administration announced considerations to ban all flavored vapor products following outbreaks of lung injuries initially attributed to nicotine vaping and concerns over teenage vaping. In November, the administration announced that it had shelved plans to ban all flavored vapor products following evidence from the FDA and CDC exonerating nicotine vaping in the aforementioned outbreaks.
However, in late December, the administration had again announced considerations to ban all flavored vapor products following new guidance issued by the FDA. The White House Office of Management and Budget stated they had begun reviewing said guidance following the Christmas holiday.
Administration officials had previously reviewed an earlier version of the guidance back in November, but the FDA’s findings were never published, and the guidance was removed from the OMB website. Shortly following this, the administration had made the announcement that it’d shelved plans for the moment.
The renewed consideration comes at an odd time following the passage of a federal increase to the minimum age required to purchase any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes. Both vaping industry officials and anti-vaping activists alike had long championed this common-sense measure to prevent teen vaping, with the former believing its passage would relieve some of the regulatory pressure the industry has been under.
Facts About Nicotine Vaping
Vaping faces unwarranted regulatory scrutiny despite being repeatedly demonstrated as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco and useful smoking cessation device. A groundbreaking study conducted by Public Health England concluded that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, which the agency has routinely defended time and again.
Current data shows vaping poses significantly less harm to users over the long-term than smoking. In fact, research published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences concluded vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer over their lifetimes when compared to smokers.
Not only has vaping been proven to be less harmful than smoking, but it may be the single most effective way to help smokers quit. Research conducted by the University of Louisville found that vaping was indeed the most effective smoking cessation device available, more so than quitting cold-turkey or using prescription options.
Furthermore, a leading academic body concluded there was little to no risk to long-term users of vapor products. Research from the National Academy of Sciences found that vaping is not only less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects associated with long-term usage.
Prohibitionist policies such as flavor bans restrict current, and former adult smokers access to a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco and useful smoking cessation device. These restrictions may have larger negative public health ramifications by forcing people to black-market alternatives or even back to tobacco.
Not only do these policies negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans and public health at large, but they have negative implications for the economy as well. Dozens of vape shops across the country have already shuttered in response to regulations restricting flavored vapor product sales, which can often make up over 80% of retailers sales.
Public health experts and industry officials must work together to draft common-sense legislation that helps prevent youth access to vaping while also allowing adult access to the most effective smoking cessation device available. The negative consequences of prohibition vastly outweigh the misled narrative of protecting teens.
What are your thoughts about the lack of consistency by the Trump administration? What do you believe the impact on the larger vaping industry will be? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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