Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Trump to pursue higher sales age for e-cigarettes

Leah Millis  Reuters Leah Millis Reuters
Gustavo Carr | 10 November, 2019, 23:34

Juul Labs on Thursday announced that it would halt sales of mint-flavored e-cigarette pods following two surveys in recent weeks.

The company said in a statement the results of the survey are unacceptable and they must earn the trust of society by working with government officials to combat underage use. The study reports an estimated 4.1 million high school students and 1.2 million middle school students now use e-cigarettes, an estimated 1.6 million students reported frequent use of e-cigarettes.

Last month, more than 50 health and advocacy groups sent letters to US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and first lady Melania Trump, urging the Trump administration to support a plan that would require e-cigarette companies to take all flavored products off the market, including mint and menthol.

Having already halted sales of fruit- and dessert-flavored e-cigarettes, Juul will now only sell menthol and tobacco flavors. It has also stopped advertising in the United States.

But details on the proposed flavor ban have yet to appear. However, Friday's comments suggest the administration may be backing off those plans because of intense pressure from vaping advocates who say flavors help adults stop smoking cigarettes and that removing flavors would force vape shops around the country to close. In September, President Donald Trump said the flavour ban would include mint and menthol flavours. However, they still have yet to be taken off the market. The researchers randomly assigned 14,191 of the respondents a module with questions related to Juul, including which Juul flavor they used most often.

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Research published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA found that in 2019, 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students now use e-cigarettes. In contrast, less than 6% of teenagers across all grades preferred menthol. Close to half of high school seniors polled by University of Southern California researchers said they nearly always opt for mint Juul products.

But he also indicated that he was concerned about over-regulation on business, a sign the administration is considering stepping back from a previously announced complete ban on flavoured e-juices popular among adolescents.

Juul has been besieged by legal troubles, including multiple investigations by Congress, federal agencies and several state attorneys general.

E-cigarettes typically heat a solution that contains nicotine, which makes cigarettes and e-cigarettes addictive.