Donald Trump said wednesday that his administration will take steps to ban flavored ‘vaping’ products after hundreds of Americans became victims of a mysterious illness linked to e-cigarettes.
Speaking to reporters alongside the president, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration will propose new regulations several weeks from now to keep the products out of the marketplace.
Medical experts believe e-cigarettes in flavors like mango, mint and fruit, appeal too much to children.
‘Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect to children,’ Trump said, adding that ‘we may very well have to do something very, very strong about it.’
President Donald Trump says his administration is considering a ban on flavored vaping products: ‘Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect to children’
A liquid nicotine solution is shown being poured into a vaping device at a store in New York; as health officials investigate the cause of hundreds of lung illnesses related to e-cigarettes, the Trump administration is planning to ban flavored solutions that appeal to teens
Trump said the first lady has become engaged on the dangers of vaping. Nicotine, the main active chemical in both cigarettes and vape oils, is most strongly addictive in younger people.
‘We can’t allow people to get sick and we can have our youth be so affected,’ the president told journalists in the Oval Office, ‘and I’m hearing it, and that’s how the first lady got involved.’
‘She’s got a son, [we have] together, that is a beautiful young man, and she feels very, very strongly about it,’ he said. ‘She’s seen it, we’re both reading it, a lot of people are reading it. But people are dying with vaping.’
The White House believes JUUL and other companies will likely push back against the regulatory actions, but not publicly, according to an official.
And Trump said the e-cig companies can afford to contend with new roadblocks to the youth market.
‘They’ve become very rich companies very fast,’ he said, ‘and the whole thing with vaping is very profitable.’
‘A lot of people think vaping is wonderful, it’s great,’ Trump said.
‘it’s really not wonderful.’
The West Wing has an unusual challenge to consider as it clamps down: At least three former admiinstration officials now work for JUUL. They include former Trump counselor Johnny DeStefano and longtime former Jared Kushner spokesman Josh Raffel.
U.S. public health officials are investigating 450 cases of lung illnesses related to vaping. People in 33 states are already affected, and six have died.
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not yet concluded which specific vaping products might cause it.
But the CDC announced last week that the one common link in many cases appeared to be the use of products that contain THC, marijuana’s main psychoactive compound.
Patients are coming into hospitals with coughs, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and vomiting.
New York state health authorities have focused their investigation on vitamin E acetate, which is used as a thickener in black market vaping cartridges. Vitamin E is safe as a vitamin or skin supplement, but inhaling the oily droplets into the lungs can trigger pneumonia.
Most e-cigarettes contain colorless, flavorless chemicals such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which create an inhalable vapor when heated. The chemicals are considered safe as food additives but their long-term effects when inhaled have not been studied.
Researchers have found cancer-causing chemicals in e-cigarette vapor, such as formaldehyde. However, it’s not yet clear whether those chemicals are present in high enough amounts to cause harm.
E-cigarette vapor contains tiny particles that carry flavorings. Some early-stage laboratory and animal studies suggest these flavor particles can damage the lungs, airways and blood vessels, but more research is needed to better understand how human bodies react to them.
Much less is known about the contents of THC oils and how those chemicals behave when heated.