BLU­MEN­THAL: VA­P­ING MOVE DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH

The Day - - FRONT PAGE - By MATTHEW PERRONE AP Health Writer

Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal, who has long ad­vo­cated for stronger reg­u­la­tions to crack down on youth va­p­ing, ac­cused the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of “dither­ing” on the is­sue.

“FDA’s dither­ing con­tin­ues to en­dan­ger and dam­age our kids,’’ the Democratic se­na­tor said Wed­nes­day. “The vague al­lu­sions to ac­tion are more delu­sion from a fail­ing agency. Only bold, de­ci­sive ac­tion — a long over­due ban on fla­vors and de­cep­tive, slick pitches out of Big To­bacco’s play­book will help end the va­p­ing epi­demic. Con­tin­ued in­ac­tion will re­quire new leadership at FDA.”

Trump said Wed­nes­day that the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion would be is­su­ing some “very strong rec­om­men­da­tions” re­gard­ing fla­vored e-cig­a­rettes in com­ing weeks.

Wash­ing­ton — The fed­eral govern­ment will act to ban thou­sands of fla­vors used in e-cig­a­rettes, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Wed­nes­day, re­spond­ing to a re­cent surge in un­der­age va­p­ing that has alarmed par­ents, politi­cians and health au­thor­i­ties na­tion­wide.

The sur­prise White House an­nounce­ment could re­make the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar va­p­ing in­dus­try, which has been driven by sales of fla­vored nico­tine for­mu­las such as “grape slushie” and “straw­berry cot­ton candy.”

The Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion will de­velop guide­lines to re­move from the mar­ket all e-cig­a­rette fla­vors ex­cept to­bacco, Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­re­tary Alex Azar told re­porters dur­ing an Oval Of­fice ap­pear­ance with the pres­i­dent, first lady Me­la­nia Trump and the acting FDA com­mis­sioner, Ned Sharp­less.

Trump, whose son Bar­ron is 13 years old, said va­p­ing has be­come such a prob­lem that he wants par­ents to be aware of what’s hap­pen­ing. “We can’t al­low peo­ple to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so af­fected,” he said.

Me­la­nia Trump re­cently tweeted her con­cerns over the com­bi­na­tion of chil­dren and va­p­ing, and at the meet­ing, the pres­i­dent said, “I mean, she’s got a son — to­gether — that is a beau­ti­ful, young man, and she feels very, very strongly about it.”

Trump’s first pub­lic com­ments on va­p­ing come as health au­thor­i­ties in­ves­ti­gate hun­dreds of breath­ing ill­nesses re­ported in peo­ple who have used e-cig­a­rettes and other va­p­ing de­vices.

No sin­gle de­vice, in­gre­di­ent or ad­di­tive has been iden­ti­fied, though many cases involve marijuana va­p­ing.

The re­stric­tions an­nounced by Trump of­fi­cials would only ap­ply to nico­tine va­p­ing prod­ucts, which are reg­u­lated by the FDA.

The FDA has had the au­thor­ity to ban va­p­ing fla­vors since 2016, but has pre­vi­ously re­sisted calls to take that step. Agency of­fi­cials in­stead said they were study­ing if fla­vors could help smok­ers quit tra­di­tional cig­a­rettes.

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