(TMU) — This week, the Trump administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that flavored vaping products will be banned across the country.
The measure stopped short of banning all vaping products, and as a result there will still be some options for consumers who are looking for a flavored nicotine option.
Open tank systems, which allow vape users to refill the fluid with whatever type of liquid they wish, will act as a loophole. Consumers will be able to manually fill their tanks with flavored juice.
Menthol vaping products, and those that taste similar to cigarettes, will not be affected by the ban.
In a statement announcing the ban, Alex Azar, HHS secretary, said that the measure was aimed at keeping nicotine products away from children:
“By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth.”
Still, many vape shop owners and others in the industry are concerned that they won’t be able to last through the current regulatory environment. Many activists in the industry have suggested that this change in policy will only make vaping products more dangerous, by pushing them onto the black market.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report in the midst of the vaping scare, saying that black market products, particularly black market THC cartridges, were behind a large number of the vaping related illnesses that were reported in the news.
A statement from the CDC said:
“We do know that THC is present in most of the samples tested by the [Food and Drug Administration] to date, and most patients report a history of using THC-containing products. The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also eventually agreed that it was black market products that were responsible for the string of illnesses that caused the scare earlier this year.
Despite the evidence that has been discovered since the initial vaping hysteria began, the U.S. government has still gone forward with banning products that have been shown to play no significant role, if any, in the recent deaths.
In fact, the evidence has shown that bans such as the one to pass this week are what make this kind of product more dangerous.