(Forbes) – Topline: Six weeks after President Trump said he was considering banning all non-tobacco-flavored vaping products, his administration will possibly allow two flavors—mint and menthol—to remain on the market, according to Bloomberg.
- Bloomberg’s report cites several unnamed federal officials who indicated the flavor ban’s rules are still being drafted, and that no decisions have been made.
- The possible flavor walk-back comes on the heels of Juul’s October 17 decision to voluntarily pull fruit and dessert flavors off the market, pending review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)
- Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar told CNBC Thursday that Juul’s decision does not change the Trump administration’s plans.
- “We want anything that’s attractive to kids to not be available for kids,” said Azar, echoing a talking point made about protecting children during Trump’s September 11 announcement.
- A 2019 survey from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said mint and menthol flavors are the second most popular vaping flavors for high school students (fruit flavors ranked first.)
- Pulling mint, menthol, fruit and dessert vaping flavors off the market could encourage people to return to traditional combustible cigarettes or the unregulated black market, according to The Atlantic.
Key background: While the Trump administration mulls its flavor ban, the CDC said as of Thursday, it has recorded over 1,600 cases of vaping-related illness and 34 deaths linked to the devices.
Despite its ongoing investigation, the CDC has not identified a specific product or chemical that’s making people sick. Most patients did report vaping with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. In light of this, officials have recommended people avoid vaping with THC, even though the chemical hasn’t been pinpointed as the cause of the outbreak.
Tangent: Juul claims it is not lobbying the administration on its proposed flavor ban. But it did hire three former Trump White House officials: former spokesman Josh Raffel, former Trump assistant Johnny DeStefano and Rebeccah Propp, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence.