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Trump moves to ban flavored e-cigarettes and credits Melania for feeling ‘very strongly about it’

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.’  

‘It’s very dangerous. Children have died. … and we’re going to have some very strong rules and regulations,’ he added later. 

President Trump credited first lady Melania (left) for engaging on the issue, saying she’s concerned about the health of their son Barron and other teens like him

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

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 

The White House and the FDA are increasingly concerned about vaping among teenagers who are drawn to sweet flavors

The White House and the FDA are increasingly concerned about vaping among teenagers who are drawn to sweet flavors

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.

The Vapor Technology Association said in a statement the flavor ban would force smokers ‘to choose between smoking again … or finding what they want and need on the black market.’ The group represents vaping manufacturers, retailers and distributors. 

A few local governments, including San Francisco, have passed bans on flavored tobacco. And this month Michigan moved to become the first state to ban flavored electronic cigarettes. But other proposed flavor bans have stalled in state legislatures this year. 

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 restrictions announced by Trump officials would only apply to nicotine vaping products, which are regulated by the FDA.

The FDA has had the authority to ban vaping flavors since 2016, but has previously resisted calls to take that step. Agency officials instead said they were studying if flavors could help smokers quit traditional cigarettes.

But parents, teachers and health advocates have increasingly called for a crackdown on flavors, arguing that they are overwhelmingly to blame for a recent surge in underage vaping by U.S. teens, particularly with small, discrete devices such as Juul’s.

 A 2009 law banned all flavors from traditional cigarettes except menthol. But that law did not apply to e-cigarettes, which were then a tiny segment of the tobacco market.

Federal health officials said Wednesday that preliminary data shows 1 in 4 high school students reported vaping this year, compared with 1 in 5 students in 2018. Federal health officials have called the trend an ‘epidemic,’ and they fear teenagers who vape will eventually start smoking.

More than 80 percent of underage teens who use e-cigarettes say they picked their product because it ‘comes in flavors that I like,’ according to government surveys. 

‘We simply have to remove these attractive flavored products from the marketplace until they can secure FDA approval, if they can,’ Azar said.

Azar said flavored products could apply for FDA permission to reenter the market. But under agency standards, only products that represent a net benefit to the public health can win FDA clearance.

Azar said the administration would allow tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes to remain available as an option for adult smokers. But he said that if children begin using those products, ‘we will take enforcement action there also.’

It will take several weeks to develop the flavor restrictions.

Significantly, the Trump plan is expected to bar menthol and mint vaping flavors. FDA officials have previously exempted those products from any sales restrictions because they were thought to be useful to adult smokers. Anti-vaping advocates criticized that decision, pointing to survey data showing roughly half of teens who vape use mint and menthol.

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 flavored e-cigarette cartridges out of the marketplace

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 flavored e-cigarette cartridges out of the marketplace

‘Finally, the FDA is doing its job,’ said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who has prodded the agency for months to take action on flavors.

Scott Gottlieb, who stepped down as FDA commissioner in April, said in a tweet that Juul bore particular responsibility for forcing the administration’s hand.

‘Unfortunately the entire category of e-cigs was put at risk largely as a result of the youth abuse of mostly one manufacturer’s products,’ Gottlieb said. 

Anti-tobacco groups praised the announcement but said action must be ‘immediate.’

ANOTHER ‘VAPE VICTIM’ REVEALED

A Minnesota student has been hospitalized with vaping-related lung injuries that left him on a ventilator and barely able to eat or drink.

Elijah McClure, 21, of Brooklyn Park, has been on mechanical breathing apparatus for 11 days so far, after his nausea and sickness developed into lung failure. 

 

He was initially prescribed antibiotics for body aches, fever and cold symptoms when he fell sick on his way back from a state fair on August 22.

But over a week later while under observation he was rushed into ICU to be put on a ventilator, his father Sedric told Kare11.    

The family revealed their son started using e-cigarettes at the age of 15 and thought he had stopped after they verbally scolded him for it.

It was not clear whether he was using liquids that included just nicotine or THC too they explained, after finding his lemonade flavored cartridges.

McClure kept the habit secret from his parents after they urged him to stop, he told mother Tami that he tried but couldn’t quit.

He has remained in hospital since August 30 for the e-cigarette related injures and has vowed never to vape again.        

‘It has taken far too long to stop Juul and other e-cigarettes companies from targeting our nation’s kids with sweet-flavored, nicotine-loaded products,’ said Matthew Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a statement.  

Federal law already prohibits e-cigarette and all other tobacco sales to those under 18. 

The West Wing has an unusual challenge to consider as it clamps down: At least three former administration 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.      

THE NEW VAPING DISEASE – WHAT IS IT AND HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT 

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Patients are coming into hospitals with cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and vomiting.

HOW SERIOUS ARE THESE ILLNESSES?

Many of the reports involve severe, life-threatening illnesses in previously healthy people. Many patients received oxygen. Some needed to be put on breathing machines before they recovered. Antibiotics didn’t work, and it’s not clear yet whether steroid drugs helped.

WHAT VAPING PRODUCTS ARE INVOLVED?

No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified. Most of the patients say they vaped products containing THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana. Others say they vaped only nicotine and others say they vaped both THC and nicotine.

IS THERE A COMMON THREAD?

Doctors believe this isn’t caused by a germ. Instead, they suspect chemical exposure. And vape juice contains many possible culprits.

After testing products, New York has focused its investigation on vitamin E acetate, which recently has been used as a thickener, particularly in black market vape cartridges. Suppliers say it dilutes vape oils without making them look watery. Vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, but inhaling oily vitamin E droplets into the lungs can trigger pneumonia.

Immune cells containing oily droplets have been found in the lungs of some patients. These large cells, called macrophages, are the cleanup crew of the immune system. University of Utah doctors think this could be a marker for vaping injury. They wrote up their findings about six patients in the New England Journal of Medicine.

WHAT ELSE IS IN VAPE LIQUIDS?

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.

‘I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point because we know so little,’ said Dr. David Christiani of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

IS THIS BRAND NEW?

There have been occasional reports of similar illnesses, including one from 2000 that was tied to inhaling homemade marijuana-infused oil vapor. The large number of cases is new and alarming to public health officials.

WHO IS INVESTIGATING AND WHAT ARE THEY DOING?

State and federal health officials are testing products and analyzing cases for clues.

New York is issuing subpoenas to three companies that sell vaping additives made from vitamin E acetate. The state wants to know more about the ingredients, the quality of the raw materials, any safety testing performed, sales of the products during the past three years and what other additives the companies sell.

ARE PRODUCTS FROM STATE-LICENSED DISPENSARIES SAFE?

Most of the cases involve products purchased on the street, not in dispensaries in states with legal sales of medical or recreational weed. One person who died in Oregon had used an e-cigarette containing marijuana oil purchased from a dispensary. Health officials there don’t know whether the product was contaminated or whether the victim may have added something to the liquid in the device after buying it.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE RIGHT NOW?

Health officials are urging people to stop vaping and to get medical care if they have trouble breathing or chest pain after vaping.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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