FDA to ban flavors for cartridge-based e-cigs

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced its plans to ban flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes. But you’ll still see flavored nicotine products on store shelves. This action follows what health officials say are epidemic levels of children vaping across the nation, especially in Hawaii.

Under the policy, flavors for cartridge-based e-cigarettes will be banned. Only menthol and tobacco flavors will still be available. These pods are different from tank-based vaping products because you cannot refill them.

Initially, business owners were worried that there was going to be a total ban on flavored nicotine but that’s actually not the case. Flavored nicotine for these refillable pods is exempt.

The FDA explains cartridge-based e-cigs are most commonly used among youth according to data. Those in the industry say this is a compromise.

“The ban on flavored cartridges was a good move because I think these were available at gas stations and Walmarts anywhere. When you’re talking about the devices that we sell here and the flavored liquids, we card at the door. It’s 21 and over. It’s harder for them to get their hands on it,” said TCA CBD Vapor Regional Manager Matthew Duran.

“What they really should do is ban all flavors for all electronic cigarettes,” said Dr. Bryan Mih, a physician and board member of the Hawaii Public Health Institute.

Critics say the ban is not enough.

“What this does is leave a giant loophole for the tanks systems and for the menthol, which they say is helpful for adults but kids will start to pick up on this really quickly,” said Dr. Mih. “We know the rates here in Hawaii are a lot higher and even before Juul came out with their pod systems, our rates were about twice as high among high schoolers and 3x times as high in the middle school students.”

Medical professionals have seen thousands of cases of lung injury related to vaping across the nation. In Hawaii, the Department of Health has confirmed four cases, one from each county. Two of the cases are adults and the other two are minors.

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