E-cigarettes expose users to significantly lower levels of potentially toxic substances than traditional cigarettes, except for nicotine, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said earlier this year. "We'll take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing".
"The proposed measure by the FDA is long overdue to protect the health of African Americans and to reduce the deleterious impact of menthol smoking and tobacco use overall on America's health", NAACP health program director Marjorie Innocent said in a statement.
"I believe these menthol-flavored products represent one of the most common and pernicious routes by which kids initiate on combustible cigarettes".
Earlier this week, Chicago filed lawsuits against eight online retailers, mostly based in Florida and California, for selling e-cigarette products directly to Chicago residents under the age of 21. "This is a hard compromise that I'm trying to strike, recognizing the public health risk posed by cigarettes still being available in menthol flavor". About 3.6 million kids and teenagers in the US vape, the FDA says.
The restrictions are aimed mainly at reducing smoking in kids: About half of teens who smoke cigarettes choose menthols, and flavored e-cigarettes have been blamed for a recent increase in teen vaping rates.
United States regulators Thursday ordered sharp restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes, as national data showed a 78 percent single-year surge in vaping among young people, with two-thirds using fruit and candy-flavored products.
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The move comes more than two years after the FDA released its final proposed deeming rule extending its regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco on May 5, 2016.
The new rules on e-cigarette flavors mean that numerous sweet and fruity varieties believed to be most popular among minors will only be available in stores such as vape shops or tobacco shops that do not allow under-age people inside.
Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said "it is widely recognized that e-cigarettes are the gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes for teens and young adults".
The FDA must go through a rulemaking process, which requires significant public comment before finalizing any regulation on menthols.
"The changes I seek would protect kids by having all flavored ENDs products - other than tobacco, mint and menthol flavors or non-flavored products - sold in age-restricted, in-person locations and, if sold online, under heightened practices for age verification", Gottlieb said. So I don't - I don't know where you're getting that statement from that we said there was going to be an outright ban. Vaping products, including e-liquids, may now be sold only in stores that can verify the age of customers. "We'll leave no stone unturned".