Medical experts in the US are applauding President Donald Trump’s announcement of a forthcoming ban on flavored e-cigarette products.
Trump, accompanied by the acting head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates e-cigarettes, said that the government must take strong action against vaping.
“We can’t allow people to get sick. People are dying,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
New Jersey doctor and medical journalist Nina Radcliff said the US government’s promise to act is a step in the right direction and that a ban on certain e-cigarette products should have happened a long time ago.
“There has been no oversight on e-cigarettes. E-cigarette fluids alone contain at least six groups of potentially toxic compounds. And then there are people buying these products off the street or modifying products bought legally. Some add THC (the psychoactive chemical in cannabis),” said Radcliff, a board certified anesthesiologist.
E-cigarettes have been linked to six deaths and 450 reported cases of lung illness across 33 states in the US.
The movement against e-cigarettes has already started on the state level, with Michigan becoming the first state to ban vaping on September 4.
Radcliff said the vaping industry’s large financial backing, and its marketing to young people, is troubling. Manufacturers such as Juul are being accused of fueling childhood addiction through flavored products such as strawberry, mango, and chocolate.
“The flavors may taste good, but that does not mean vaping is good for your lungs,” Radcliff said.
Radcliff also said the vaping trend has caught on because it is more socially acceptable than smoking cigarettes and marijuana, both which give off a strong scent.
The first commercially successful electronic cigarette was created in China in 2003. Radcliff said that vaping has not been around long enough to know its long-term effects, but that its main ingredient of nicotine is proven to increase blood pressure and heart rate.
Though some doctors have recommended cigarette smokers switch to vaping, Radcliff says that may not be wise advice.
“We should stick to FDA approved products to help quit smoking like nicotine patches, as well as behavioral modifications to cope with withdrawal symptoms” she said.
“Millions have quit smoking without vaping. There is no reason to suggest going to another addictive and dangerous substance,” Radcliff added.
Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar said that there will be a 30-day delayed effective date before all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor will have to be removed from the US market.