The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced restrictions on the sale and manufacturing of all flavors of e-cigarette pods except tobacco and menthol (Source: “FDA to enact scaled-back e-cigarette flavor ban,” Modern Healthcare, Jan. 2, 2020).
FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said the policy was intended to limit youth e-cigarette use but maximize the potential benefit to adults trying to quit smoking combustible cigarettes. The flavor restrictions do not apply to tank vaping systems found at vape shops that HHS officials said are more often used by adults.
The Trump administration in September indicated it wanted to ban all e-cigarette flavors besides tobacco. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids President Matthew Myers said the exceptions were concessions to the vaping industry and vape shops that had furiously lobbied to water down the flavor ban.
"By leaving menthol flavored e-cigarettes widely available and completely exempting liquid flavored products, this policy will not stop the youth e-cigarette epidemic," the group said in a statement.
HHS officials justified leaving menthol-flavored e-cigarette pods on the market by pointing to the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey, which showed less than 1% of frequent youth e-cigarette users surveyed in the 10th grade most often used the classic tobacco flavor, compared to 4.8% who preferred menthol. Mint was the most popular flavor at 52.1%.