Durbin Presses Trump Administration To Finalize E-Cigarettes Flavor Ban

It Has Been Six Weeks Since The Trump Administration Announced That It Would Remove E-Cigarette Flavors From Market, Including Mint And Menthol, Yet No Guidance Has Been Issued

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a call for an update on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) forthcoming e-cigarette flavor ban.  The Trump Administration has not issued final guidance to ban e-cigarette flavors, including mint and menthol, despite announcing six weeks ago that they would do so “within a couple weeks.”  During the call with Secretary Azar, Durbin urged HHS and the FDA to act quickly and not delay the removal of e-cigarette flavors – such as mint, menthol, unicorn milk, bubblegum, and razzleberry – from the market.

“Six weeks ago, FDA finally announced a ban on e-cigarette flavors, including mint and menthol – a move that I have called on the FDA to make for years.  I appreciate Secretary Azar’s personal commitment and I’m still hopeful that by the end of this year these addictive, kid-friendly flavors will be off the shelf,” Durbin said.  “It is past time for the FDA to put into effect what they announced weeks ago, and what they should have done years ago.”

The e-cigarette flavor ban will go into effect 30 days after it is published by the FDA, and will apply to retail and online sales.  If a company wants to bring a flavor back on the market, it will need to apply to FDA for authorization, demonstrating that its flavor is appropriate for the protection of public health.  FDA’s action came after preliminary data showed that America has seen a 32 percent increase over the last year alone in the number of high-school children using e-cigarettes – with five million teens currently vaping.

This alarming increase comes on top of a 78 percent increase in the number of high-school children using e-cigarettes between 2017 and 2018, and a 48 percent increase in the number of middle-school children using these addictive and dangerous products during that time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported nearly 1,500 cases of severe lung illness linked to vaping and 33 deaths in 24 states, including Illinois.

In March, Durbin and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), along with U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to crack down on kid-friendly flavorings in highly-addictive e-cigarettes and cigars.  The Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids (SAFE Kids) Act will place strong restrictions on e-cigarette flavorings and ban cigar flavorings altogether.