Health experts are cheering President Trump’s vow to ban flavored e-cigarettes, which they say are a major reason for the sharp rise in youthful vaping in the U.S. Trump made the announcement on Wednesday, noting “We can’t have our youth be so affected.”

A half dozen recent deaths and hundreds of cases of lung disease across the country appear to be related to vaping, although the cases are still under investigation.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said a ban on flavored e-cigarettes will probably go into effect in about two months and would remain in place until the flavored products receive specific approval from the FDA.

Research released this week by the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that flavors motivate individuals to start using e-cigarettes and to more often report feeling addicted to e-cigarettes. Data from the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey indicates that more than a quarter of high school students have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days and that the overwhelming majority of students use fruity, menthol or mint flavors."

"An extraordinary step"

“We agree with President Trump’s comments expressing deep concern about the epidemic of youth using electronic cigarettes, and we are pleased his administration is now taking urgent steps to remove flavored e-cigarettes, which have addicted millions of youth and adolescents to nicotine and jeopardized their short- and long-term health, from the market,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the AHA.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the anti-tobacco group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said the ban would be “an extraordinary step in the face of a real crisis.”

Brown accused JUUL and other e-cigarette companies of preying upon youth and adolescents “with million-dollar marketing campaigns and thousands of appealing flavors that are proven to attract kids. These companies did this knowing that nicotine is an addictive drug that rewires the developing brain and poses significant health risks to e-cigarette users.

“We don’t yet know the full impact of e-cigarette use on public health, but we do know that e-cigarette companies have done real harm to a generation of children.”

Smokers, small businesses would be affected

The Vapor Technology Association (VTA) an industry group, said vapor products are safer than cigarettes and that prohibiting flavors “would be a public health travesty” because it would force people to “choose between smoking again (something the FDA has said will happen if vapor products are pulled from the market) or finding what they want and need on the black market.”

Additionally, the VTA said the ban would force 10,000 small business to shut down.

In addition to the ban, Brown called on federal officials to prohibit all e-cigarette marketing to children, prohibit online sales of e-cigarettes, exercise rigorous pre-market review and closely review e-cigarette products already on the market.

The e-cigarette industry has suggested that the adverse health reactions experienced by e-cigarette users are due to people tampering with the products by inserting additional substances like cannabis or THC into them.