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In recent months, the FDA has launched several efforts in an attempt to fight teen vaping. Last September, the agency released a campaign which points out that while e-cigarettes deliver addictive nicotine, the toxins in the devices could have unexpected health effects.

E-liquid flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol will be banned at traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores, while fruity- or dessert-flavored varieties will only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online merchants that use age-verification checks.
“We are acting on very clear science that there’s an epidemic on the way,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb at the time. “We’re in possession of data that shows a disturbingly sharp rise in the number of teens using e-cigarettes in just the last year.”

These figures were finally partially released to the public last Thursday. In a press release on its website, the FDA together with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that data compiled from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) indicated that more than 3.6 million middle and high school students were current (past 30 day) e-cigarette users in 2018, a dramatic increase of more than 1.5 million students since last year.

On the same day, the FDA also announced that it would ban most e-liquid flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol at most traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores. Other fruity- or dessert-flavored varieties will only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online merchants that use age-verification checks.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that there are also plans to ban menthol cigarettes. “We are going to be putting in place some additional restrictions on how these products can be sold, particularly the flavored products. That’s my legal mandate, is to bring down smoking rates,” he said last Tuesday.

Research comparing e-liquid flavours and menthol cigarettes

A 2017 study had indicated that if flavours had to be banned in e-cigarettes and allowed in regular cigarettes, vaping would decline by over 10%. Banning e-liquid flavors would stir many former smokers back to smoking regular cigarettes, hence increase cancer and mortality rates. On the other hand, if menthol flavoured cigarettes were to be banned, there would be a 4.8% reduction in smoking, as most smokers would either switch to e-cigarettes, or quit.

Read Further: Reuters

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