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FDA could ban some e-cigarette flavors next week

A man smokes an electronic cigarette Modal Trigger Getty Images
Ginger Lawrence | 11 November, 2018, 05:14

The Cuomo administration says NY state is taking steps that could make it the first state to ban the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes.

The restriction would reportedly not apply to mint flavors because menthol cigarettes are sold.

Meredith Berkman, a founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, which seeks to curb underage use, said the agency's move was a "good first step", but added that "the final step should have happened yesterday".

The Cuomo administration's plans come as the federal government plans to require strict limits on the retail sale of most flavored e-cigarettes.

The FDA will continue to permit that flavor to be sold because menthol is permitted in regular cigarettes as well, and the agency doesn't want to give traditional cigarettes an advantage over e-cigarettes in the retail setting. More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017, the FDA said, and e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth.

Although vaping is generally considered a less unsafe alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products, health officials have warned nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains.

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United States regulators plans to ban menthol cigarettes when they impose stricter rules on sales of flavored e-cigarettes in a bid to stop Americans - particularly young ones - from feeling lured into the unsafe habit.

Use of the devices has skyrocketed especially with young people, according to the FDA. Moreover, the long-term health consequences of vaping is not known.

Krugman said if the kids are hooked on nicotine at a young age, they are even more likely to switch over to cigarettes.

At the same time, vaping devotees and "harm reduction" advocates have said e-cigarettes represent s powerful tool in helping adult smokers to quit more risky cigarettes.

The FDA recently launched a massive education campaign aimed at the almost 10.7 million teens at risk for e-cigarette use, taking the message that vaping is unsafe into high school bathrooms and social media feeds.