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Will the FDA ban vaping? This week, in an interview for KHN, outgoing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb threatened to ban vaping altogether, saying “the FDA is prepared to look at banning” e-cigarette products completely. He particularly targeted flavored e-cigarette pods (such as the ones used with the JUUL device) and cartridges, stating, “those are the ones kids are abusing.”

Gottlieb has doubled down on the FDA’s proposed tough new regulations including an e-cigaette flavor ban on candy and fruit flavors, as well as heightened age restrictions at venues that sell e-cigarettes including a requirement for third party age verification. The proposed regulation would also require e-cigarettes and vape juice to seek FDA approval by 2021.

But now a coalition of health departments around the U.S., the Big Cities Health Coalition, is calling for faster and stricter regulation. The FDA’s proposed regulation notably left out further restrictions on tobacco, mint, and menthol flavors, which are popular with adults who are attempting to quit smoking — but are also used by 50% of underage vapers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The health departments are calling for these flavors to be included in the new regulations, and for the timeline for implementation to be speeded up significantly, because every week that youth have access to e-cigarettes, thousands more may become addicted.

Many cities and states, including New York and San Francisco, are already rushing to enact more restrictive laws and outright vaping bans.

Vaping advocates, meanwhile, are frustrated with the proposed FDA ban. Vaping has been found in multiple studies to increase smokers’ liklihood of quitting by as much as double, and have fewer negative health consequences than smoking. Even the FDA sees e-cigarettes as one of the most promising methods of Nictotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) to help current smokers quit.

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