Amid reports of six vape-related deaths, and other anecdotal reports of vaping scares, President Donald Trump said on Sept. 11 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be releasing “very strong recommendations” against the use of most flavored e-cigarettes in “a couple of weeks.”
“It’s very new and potentially very bad,” Trump stated. “There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems. People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but turns out that it has its own difficulties. Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect to children.” Regulators worry if flavored vape products in particular are appealing to children.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sat down with First Lady Melania Trump and the acting FDA administrator to discuss a new policy that would force e-cigarette companies to pull flavored products off shelves. “It’s like a whole box of cigarettes,” Melania Trump said, adding that parents are concerned if children fully grasp the potential danger of e-cigarettes and other vape products. “[It is] another issue that we need to deal with.”
Trump Administration Combating Epidemic of Youth E-Cigarette Use with Plan to Clear Market of Unauthorized, Non-Tobacco-Flavored E-Cigarette Products: https://t.co/BNzE4hXhph pic.twitter.com/Pakvc1SgOv
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) September 11, 2019
While Melania Trump’s comments focused on tobacco-related incidents, many reports of lung illnesses have been linked to black market cannabis vape products. The suggestion of a ban on flavored vape products sent vape vendors in the cannabis industry reeling.
Aaron Smith is executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). The NCIA and other trade organizations dealt with a barrage of questions about a potential ban. “These policies are directly bolstering the markets for untested and potentially dangerous illicit products,” Smith told My San Antonio. “The fact that so few of these cases have so far reported any link whatsoever to the legal cannabis market is a testament to the effectiveness of state regulators and licensed businesses at ensuring product reliability. As an industry, however, we view it as our duty to make sure whatever is causing these illnesses is not replicated in legal products and to work toward enacting regulations that can prevent similar public health issues from occurring in the future. The legal cannabis industry is paying very close attention to any new information provided by medical authorities regarding these cases.”
The implications a ban would have on the cannabis industry are staggering, given the number of companies that sell flavored vape products. It’s not yet fully clear, however, if the ban will be imposed on flavored cannabis vape companies as well.