A PLAN to ban flavors in tobacco products including vape juice is set to be rolled out by the US government, according to industry experts.
The Food and Drink Administration (FDA) has sparked controversy after issuing a call for comments on regulation of flavored products including e-liquids.
The purpose of the proposal laid out in the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ANPRM) appears to be to “protect children” from getting hooked on e-cigarettes while also re-looking at banning menthol cigarettes, which was previously rejected.
During a 90-day period, interested parties can make comments on the ANPRM, which vapers are now being called on to contribute to. Taking action is now crucial to help present a bigger picture to officials. Vaping industry experts say they believe the FDA has already made up its mind on the use of flavors in e-cigarette juice, blaming it for attracting teen vaping without there being any firm evidence.
In a series of tweets FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said 31 per cent of the teens surveyed in the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey said they vaped because of the availability of the flavors – but the question actually stated the availability of “flavors such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate”.
“The troubling reality,” tweeted Gottlieb, “is that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. Preventing youth from initiating the use of any tobacco product, including e-cigs, is critical.”
Following the ANPRM last week, Gottlieb said in a press statement to accompany the rulemaking: “We must (also) consider how best to address flavors in non-combustible products like e-cigarettes – given both their clear appeal to youth but also the potential role certain flavors may play in helping some adult smokers transition to potentially less harmful tobacco products.
“I’ve talked to ex-smokers, who’ve told me that they quit cigarettes altogether and that they now vape. And they’ve also told me it was the flavors that helped them make that transition off combustible cigarettes. Now I know anecdotes aren’t the same as data. And the ANPRM specifically seeks data on this issue.”
Industry experts say the wording suggests Gottlieb is making clear that the FDA has already decided on their answer to the questions asked in the ANPRM and is moving towards acting on it after saying it will “address the role of flavors” with some “regulatory options”.
Vapers and sellers of e-liquids should now send in comments and opinions electronically to https://www.regulations.gov to fight the flavour ban.
If the regulation goes ahead it could lead to thousands of businesses failing, 100,000 jobs lost and vapers having to choose between tobacco flavors and tobacco.