The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued a ban on many flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes. The ban includes flavors like fruit, candy and mint, which the FDA says appeal to kids, but excludes tobacco and menthol. Companies that don't stop making and selling the banned within 30 days risk facing FDA enforcement actions.
"The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes," said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a release. "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."
The new rules are focused on vaping products with prefilled cartridges, as opposed to so-called open systems, which require a person to manually fill the e-cigarette with liquid. In the release announcing the ban, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said cartridge-based vaping products are both "easy to use and easily concealable."
The US has seen a spike in vaping, especially among teens and young adults, a segment of the population that until recently had been using fewer tobacco products, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In November, President Donald Trump held a .
In recent months, more than 2,500 people have ended up in the hospital due to severe lung illnesses and other health problems after vaping -- and at least 54 people have died. In December, health officials said they were confident that vitamin E acetate in black-market marijuana products is strongly linked to vaping illnesses.
In December, the US raised the legally limit to buy cigarettes, cigars or any other tobacco products from age 18 to 21.
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