WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says and the head of the FDA plan to ban most e-cigarettes amid an outbreak of serious lung illnesses and a surge in underage vaping.
According to government studies, more than 80-percent of underage users say they picked e-cigarettes because of the flavors.
Medical experts say at least six deaths and hundreds of illnesses across 42 states are being linked to vaping, prompting lawmakers to push for action.
And senators on both sides of the aisles are also calling for the immediate withdrawal of all flavored e-cigarette products.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is urging the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to order recalls for any products that can be tampered with.
“Flavors should be banned. The FDA Administrator should be fired if he fails to take action right away, “said Senator Blumenthal. “Not only the FDA but the Consumer Product Safety Commission should be involved in recalling and banning these products if they’re found to be defective.”
And on the Republican side Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is urging the Department of Health and Human Services to consider an industry-wide recall as they investigate the deaths.
“More young people are becoming addicted. I think we have to stop and ask what is the right packaging for these products, to make sure they can’t be tampered with and they can’t have the kind of substances added to them that can be harmful,” said Senator Romney. “I think we have to ask ourselves how do we keep our young people from being drawn into these products, the flavors that are sometimes advertised.
State and federal health authorities are investigating hundreds of breathing illnesses reported in people who have used e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
No single device, ingredient or additive has been identified.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove all e-cigarette flavors from the market, especially those favored by children.
The FDA regulates e-cigarettes and has authority to ban vaping flavors, but has resisted calls to take that step.
Instead, the agency has said it is studying the role of flavors in vaping products, including whether they help adult smokers quit traditional cigarettes.