A ban on the sales of flavored e-cigarettes is being postponed by the Trump administration to consider the effect the prohibitions would have on small businesses.
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The White House has said it is looking for alternatives to curb the use of vaping among Americans, but its decision Friday to postpone a ban comes as it considers the impact the prohibition would have on e-cigarette retailers. The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association estimated there are at least 35,000 vape shops in the United States and a growing number of vape retailers online.
President Trump said Monday that he would meet with vaping proponents and medical experts who support strict regulation to discuss options to remedy the endemic.
E-cigarettes, which exploded into popularity in the last few years, have come under a blitz of public scrutiny, as vaping-related illnesses have claimed at least 42 lives and caused more than 2,000 others to become sick across 48 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration called vaping illness an “epidemic” and New York University researchers published the first study linking e-cigarettes to lung cancer.
Many brands have taken the products out of their inventories.
Grocery chain Kroger said in October it would ban the sale of e-cigarette products in its stores. It joined Walmart and Rite Aid, which ended sales early this year. Walgreens also said it would end sales of e-cigarettes and related items.
Vaping apps just went dark in the App Store, too.
Apple said it’s removed any mobile applications from its platform that might enable the use of e-cigarettes and products in response to the vaping-related illnesses and deaths.
“We’re constantly evaluating apps, and consulting the latest evidence, to determine risks to users’ health and well-being,” the memo read. “Experts ranging from the CDC to the American Heart Association have attributed a variety of lung injuries and fatalities to e-cigarette and vaping products,” calling the spread of these devices a public health crisis."
The actual sale of tobacco and vaping cartridges has never been allowed on the App Store. Instead, the apps in question are a mix of companions for things like temperature and lighting controls, as well as social networks, news and games. Customers who have already downloaded the apps will still be able to use them and transfer them to new devices.
The CDC said recently that it reached a breakthrough in linking deaths and illnesses to vitamin E oil, particularly in combination with THC, the ingredient in cannabis that delivers a psychoactive sensation.