The White House announced Thursday that it will ban fruit, candy, mint and dessert flavors from small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes, while menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes will remain on the market.
The announcement comes on the heels of new legislation signed by President Donald Trump Dec. 20, 2019 to raise the age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. It is now illegal to sell any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes, to anyone under 21.
According to the amended Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the change took effect immediately. However, retailers have received little instruction as to how to proceed.
The Food and Drug Administration has stated that it will provide additional details on this issue as they become available, with new rules expected to be issued within the next six months.
The day after the new legislation was signed, FDA Tobacco tweeted its intention to publish a final rule updating its current regulations within 180 days.
Texas already raised its smoking age to 21 on Sept. 1, 2019 – with the exception of members of the military – after Senate Bill 21 was approved by legislators in June 2019. By the time this new legislation was signed, 20 states had raised the smoking age.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year – that's one in five deaths.
In 2018, nearly 14 of every 100 adults age 18 years or older currently smoked cigarettes, which means an estimated 34.2 million adults in the U.S. currently smoke cigarettes.
More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Each year, the U.S. spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults and nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke annually.
Current smoking among adults has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 in 2005, to 14 of every 100 adults in 2018. However, every day, about 2,000 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette.
According to the most recent report from the CDC, tobacco product use among youth is increasing. More than one in four high school students and about one in 14 middle school students in 2018 had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days, a considerable increase from 2017 driven by the rise in popularity of e-cigarette use.
E-cigarette use increased from 11.7% to 20.8% among high school students and from 3.3% to 4.9% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. No change was found in the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes, during this time.
The new legislation is designed to create more “social distance” between these youth and those old enough to purchase cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and tobacco products.
The CDC and other organizations have established services to help smokers quit. A free phone service with educational materials, coaches, a quit plan, and referrals to local resources to help you quit tobacco is available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
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