Flavours in e-cigs are restricted - but vejp shoppers get by

US bans fruit flavours in pre-filled tanks and raises age limit on e-cigs

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking strong action to curb e-cigarette use among young people in the US. They are raising the age limit for buying tobacco and e-liquid to 21 and restricting e-cig flavours. This means that in the future, pre-filled tanks (pods) can only contain tobacco flavours and menthol. The law will apply from February 2020.

"We are banning fruit and candy flavours. This will make e-cigarettes less desirable for young people," Health Minister Azar told the Council. CNBC news

As mentioned, the ban only applies to pre-filled tanks. These are closed systems, known as pods, and not the majority of the products that usually sold in vejp shops.

"The vape shops can keep several of their flavoured e-liquids and are important for public health. Thousands of former smokers will not have to return to cigarettes," says Michael Siegel, Professor of Public Health at Boston University.

Nicotine strength more important than flavour

Michael Siegel argues that young people are attracted to e-cigs primarily by the high levels of nicotine, not the flavours. The fact that flavours matter less is also confirmed by CDC's own studies with explanations such as 'curiosity' and 'family and friends using them' coming higher on the list of reasons why young people tried e-cigarettes.

There is currently no upper limit for nicotine content in the USA. In European countries, where EU legislation only allows 20 mg/ml, there are also not as widespread among young people.says Michael Siegel. Nicotine levels of up to 60 mg/ml put young people at risk of becoming unnecessarily addicted to nicotine, he says.

"Unfortunately, this proposal will not curb use among young people. It will only cause them to switch to the permitted flavours and continue vejpa. The FDA should focus on the nicotine, rather than the flavours. That is where the problem lies. Flavour bans are only policies to appease certain anti-vejp groups and they are not motivated by promoting public health. If authorities want to reduce vejp use among young people, they need to focus on the nicotine, not the flavours" writes Michael Siegel.

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