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Trump Administration Weighs Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes (nytimes.com)
55 points by jbegley 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments






Most the people who got sick or died was from THC related vape products, ecigs had nothing to do with it.

Also, they didn't ban flavored alcohol or flavored THC products.

They really need to stop being a nanny state about adults and stop use the agenda of (Think of the children!) bans.

Kids (Young Adults) did start using juul, because gas stations could sell them easily, 7-11 banned those juice flavors awhile ago.

The Feds banned an entire market for adults, that has nothing related to the THC vitamin E grease fiasco...

Vaping is hell of a lot healthier than smoking, but of course not-smoking is best. But I hate when nanny stats bann something for political reasons, just like they are doing with trans fats (donut scare!) or cities with sugary drink taxes.

Video showing cotton balls with smoking vs vaping, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pwj6BuS8Ds


> _"But I hate when nanny stats bann [sic] something for political reasons, just like they are doing with trans fats (donut scare!) or cities with sugary drink taxes."_

It's not for political reasons, it's because the people enacting the legislation _believe_ that the government's role is to ban these. You can have a different philosophy about the role of government and disagree with the legislation, but that doesn't mean it's done for "political reasons".

To me, legislation for political reasons would be where you legislate something you may not truly believe in to order to satisfy a small minority (e.g. corn subsidies for Iowans) or to advance some exclusively political agenda (e.g. voter re-districting legislation).


They banned flavoured cigarettes in 2009, which seems like the closest comparison.

If they're banning flavored cigarettes, why not ban sugary/flavored alcoholic drinks (alcopops) as well? As others have said, this seems like a shakedown and/or a bit of an overreach.

These are separate issues - there is a clear close corollary to flavored e-cigs which is conventional cigarettes - the flavored versions have been banned. Banning other flavored stuff might be a good idea but is entirely beside the point.

Yet those shitty flavored "cigars" are still available, as is flavored pipe tobacco.

Why not ban cigarettes if they are more dangerous anyhow?

Menthol cigarettes are not banned.

> just like they are doing with trans fats

You're implying trans fats are fine and the only reason to ban them is political, despite the heavy link with heart disease and other issues?


Don’t know why you are being downvoted. Trans fats aren’t unhealthy like like eating too much sugar is unhealthy. Trans fats are “unhealthy” like lead and mercury are “unhealthy.”

I think it is entirely reasonable that the government ban chemically addictive products which attract use by children.

Let's be honest, this is a shakedown. E-cigarette manufacturers just need to grease the right palms, this is absolutely not about public health.

Amount of money that States in the Master Settlement Agreement profited from tobacco sales this year: $27 billion

Amount of tax revenue States collected on tobacco in 2018: $12.86 billion

Number of people killed by tobacco last year: 480,000

Number of States that spend the CDC-recommended amount on tobacco prevention programs: 0

Number of states that have made efforts to ban tobacco: 0

https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/what-we-do/us/statereport

https://taxpolicycenter.org/statistics/tobacco-tax-revenue

https://www.statista.com/statistics/248964/revenues-from-tob...

https://cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_fac...


In 2009 flavoured cigarettes were banned. This just brings e-cigarettes in line with cigarettes

There's a very strong drive to make an equivalency with tobacco and e-cigarettes, and I think it's extremely irresponsible.

"We don't know the long-term effects" is usually put forward as an argument. However, preliminary evidence is pretty strong that they're orders of magnitude less harmful.

Putting e-cigarettes, (which look like they might save hundreds of thousands to millions of lives if all smokers switched to them) in line with cigarettes is potentially a public health catastrophe.


Six people have died so far from what seems to be a vaping-related lung condition. This may be several orders of magnitude lower than the number killed by smoking cigarettes an equivalent amount of time, but it's not something to be ignored. Strangling a baby in its crib is easier than taking out the full-grown adult later.

> Six people have died so far from what seems to be a vaping-related lung condition.

Vaping what, exactly?

This whole situation is like if the government allowed (and profited in the billions on sales of) heroin, and a small industry sprang up selling methadone pills. A few people who took some unknown kind of pill got sick or died, and the government then makes moves to shut down the methadone industry.


Oh, I think banning flavored pods is dumb, but then I also think vaping is dumb. My point was that it's unrealistic to expect reason on the subject, because "an order of magnitude less" is hard for most people to reason about when you can list the name of people who have died.

People want action now because the numbers are low now, and if a couple of years from now we find out things aren't so bad, presumably deep-pocketed companies will push for rescinding the laws.

It's not great, but it's hardly realistic to expect politicians to make laws based on science, even in administrations that aren't anti-science on the record.


Vaping is dumb, smoking tobacco is dumb, smoking weed is dumb, drinking alcohol is dumb, eating meat is dumb, driving above the speed limit is dumb.

The difference with speeding, drinking alcohol, and eating meat is that the government has active measures to make them safer. With smoking weed (specifically vaping) the regulatory environment forbids reputable labs from performing quality control, and the FDA isn't helping whatsoever with regulating the purity of the products.

What I'm getting at is that it's government policy, specifically the lack of FDA regulation/testing of THC vaping products, that is killing people.

The voting public overwhelmingly supports legalization, and the politicians' refusal to enact public policy that fulfills this wish and reduces harm is the problem. Congress has the blood of these victims of tainted product on their own hands.


All of which appear to be related to black market pods. I don't think that empowering the black market by banning the pods people want to buy is going to fix that.

No one knows what they died from, these are all recent tragedies and vaping has been around for many years. It is definitely not a reason to ban vaping.

I was about to make the same call. The same thing happened here in Canada when it was shown that the flavoured versions were drawing in kids.

Menthol cigarettes are not banned.

Menthol cigarettes are so popular among blacks that black groups claimed that banning them would be a violation of civil rights.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/03/mint-that-...


Also Phillip Morris and Altria trying to merge.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-08-29/philip...

Which look at that, Juul is NOT banned because they are owned by the aforementioned companies.

This is regulatory capture at its finest.


It's worth mentioning that Altria was previously known as Phillip Morris. The Phillip Morris you're referencing is Phillip Morris International. It was split off from Altria in 2008. So as far as egregious mergers go, this isn't it. This is getting the band back together.

So because we fail on tobacco-related public health issues, we should ignore potential health issues from other products?

(In spite of what I said yesterday,) the reason why a policy change is made is important. I might agree with the policy specifically, but the context matters.

> Let's be honest, this is a shakedown.

The settlement money isn't suppose to be for prevention programs, it's to bolster public health institutions who are saddle with providing health care for tobacco related diseases that are a direct result of the misleading practices from the tobacco industry.

> Number of States that spend the CDC-recommended amount on tobacco prevention programs: 0

How much does the CDC recommend? How much are they spending? Your statement is designed to trick the reader into thinking states aren't spending any money.


> How much does the CDC recommend? How much are they spending? Your statement is designed to trick the reader into thinking states aren't spending any money.

Details are in the links below the facts I listed.


Then why don't you share them to support your argument? The burden of proof lies on you.

>Number of states that have made efforts to ban tobacco: 0

Do you suggest that states should ban tobacco? I think that would be a mistake, judging by the effects of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and the current war on drugs.


I don't think it should be banned, but there's a level of taxation that will drive demand down to near-zero. If states really feel like you can't put a price on human life, and we should think of the children, etc, they could revise their policy and charge taxes at the price that would come extremely close to eliminating all demand.

If you tax it high enough, you won't necessarily drive demand down to zero, you'll just drive demand back to illicit sources just like currently illegal drugs.

I agree that there would be a small black market, but it would be just that: small.

What is the effective difference between huge taxation and banning?

You, or anyone employed, owning, or contracted by any part of the supply chain, can get legal redress from any issues arising in the manufacture, sale, transportation, or consumption an expensive, heavily taxed product.

With a black market product, your only form of redress for any issues that may arise from commercial activity surrounding that product is an incredible, and preferably disproportionate amount of physical violence.


High taxes won't stop many smokers from smoking. They just switch to cheaper brands, or buy them through illegal channels. That's how "loosies" became a huge business in poor neighborhoods.

It has marked effects on young adults, and reducing youth smoking is the most bang-for-your-buck public health impact you can have. It's unusual for adults to randomly just take up smoking if they didn't start young.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal...


This is already true in some locales. NYC’s base price for a pack is $13.

The main issue with this is, like guns and alcohol, localities and states all have differences of opinion, so that ends up not meaning much in practice when someone can just drive over the county line to get their cheaper fix. State and city level whack-a-mole is an intractable problem.


> but there's a level of taxation that will drive demand down to near-zero.

Tell that to all the people who are still buying weed from dealers in states where recreational is legal (and taxed highly).


I have been exposed to the argument that prohibition was actually reasonably successful - alcohol abuse and liver cirrhosis hospitalizations went down, crime rates overall did not go up, and there was a net gain to public health.

Something like 90% of adults consume alcohol. Banning tobacco would not have the same effect as the 18th Amendment.

The land of the free, where the government decides what adults can with their own bodies.

I'm all for taking new steps to reduce the troubling increase in teen use of nicotine. Also, cigarettes should not be nearly so cheap: they should carry taxes that fully offset the health impact so smokers are not free riders. (This would add $10 per pack to the price.)

However, freedom means adults should be free to make their own choices—even if they're bad ones—as long as they bear the costs. It's appropriate for government to persuade, but not to choose.


> The land of the free, where the government decides what adults can with their own bodies.

I have found that such black-and-white sentiments are common here in the US, and surprisingly missing a lot of very importance nuance.

So... you will never use publicly funded (often emergency) healthcare? Do you really understand the risks that you are taking? Are you sure that the risks have been accurately and understandably explained? Are you sure that only adults will be targeted? Are you sure that commercial interests are not lying or exaggerating to you?

I remember analogous arguments in the late 70's / early 80's regarding the use of seat belts. "It's my body! I know the risks!"

It is the role of a functioning society to find a way to help protect its own members from non-obvious, long-term harm. We can argue if government regulation is the proper outlet, and we can argue about efficiency and details, but... no no sane world does a "I can damned well do whatever I want!" attitude build a safe, equitable society.


There's nothing other than an annoying chime preventing you from not using a seat-belt. In all but the "nanny-ist" of states they can't even pull you over for it (but they may be able to tack on a $50 fine or something if they see you not wearing it when they pull you over). You can even buy clips that plug into the seat belt latch that make it think it's buckled when it's not.

Mandating that seat belts be available in vehicles for those that choose to use them and making it annoying to not do so is a far cry from banning an entire category of product.


>So... you will never use publicly funded (often emergency) healthcare?

When the overweight start getting hauled off to prison I'll find this argument compelling.


I think you're willfully ignoring the bulk of my comment.

In this case you can do what you want to your own body, you can't just sell it to others and cause them harm.

When are we banning fast food?

This is 100%-grass-fed, free-range, organic bullshit. How on earth could anyone, with a straight face, propose an outright ban on e-cigarettes while real cigarettes are still legal...

In public opinion, this is shaping up to be another tour-de-force showcasing the defective actors of our democracy. Starring, in order of appearance:

1 Moms that want the government to do their parenting, as the technology doesn't yet exist to Black Mirror them. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkangel_(Black_Mirror))

2 Obnoxiously smug people that are willing to outlaw anything that doesn't affect them if there is morale high-ground to stand on

3 Corrupt politicians dressing up a power-move or money-grab in the name of protecting the children/public health

4 A recent but powerful entrant, Facebook users that have conjured degrees in both Medicine and Statistics, rapidly propagating the most poorly reasoned, common denominated, premature-birth-of-a-coherent-argument to all of their friends and family

Good times!


Mr. Azar said that the F.D.A. would outline a plan within the coming weeks for removing most flavored e-cigarettes that are not tobacco products from the market.

Title is editorialized; should read "Are Planning To Ban" or the like.


Yeah, I came here to say this. The title here suggests that the FDA just banned them. They have not. Misleading at best, straight up lying at worst.

The amount of regulation of these devices is insane. At their core they have 3 parts; a battery, a heating element, and the juice/carrier. There are a lot of things that could potentially be consumed using these simple devices; nicotine and THC are just the first most popular ones. The fact that the FDA has the authority to regulate tobacco products should never have extended to anything but actual tobacco.

Flavored e-cigarette cartridges (or whatever they're called, I don't smoke) are a tobacco product.

In the US! Technically, you can extract nicotine from sources other than tobacco.

https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article/21/3/267/5041976#target....


A ban would be devastating for those using ecigs to quit nicotine. I love the fruity flavors, and purposely started with those when I switched to ecigs. I figured that would help me get rid of the desire for tobacco flavor, and it worked so well that just the smell regular cigarettes would make me nauseous. It was a huge factor in my quitting successfully.

I bet there will be a rush to hoard flavored pods and a crazy resale market will follow.

I don't know anybody who uses pods. Most likely people will simply start mixing their own juice, as aphextim mentioned.

I mostly only see people using pods and almost never see anyone mixing their own juice (besides dense clouds flowing out of the random car on the highway). My guess is that is all related to your friend circle, age, and area. Juul's are INCREDIBLY popular.

No one needs to mix their own juice yet. The difference is when there is no longer an option in the market for pre-mixed juices, amazon will be flooded with various flavouring oils.

Just like how the vaporizers are often sold as for 'potpourri'.


> The difference is when there is no option amazon will be flooded with various flavouring oils.

Which is highly likely to increase the percentage of vapers using unsafe ingredients and exacerbate the current health crisis. Hooray for progress!


Of course and it just further masks the liability chain and helps fund associated shady acts.

Hilarious seeing all the Juul shills in here already, saying we need vapes to quit regular cigarettes and that, "this is a shakedown"

The USA should give gun control powers to the FDA...

Can we please update the title to reflect that they're still deciding whether to ban them.

Original title: "Trump Administration Weighs Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes"


Whoa, that's bad. Fixed now. Submitted title was "FDA Bans Flavored E-Cigarettes".

NYT is known for changing their headlines; did they get this wrong in the first place? If not, the submitted title broke the HN guidelines: "Please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize."

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Guess I'll go back to making my own again.... If anyone else wants to learn how to mix your own juice here is my go to guide.

https://liquidnicotinewholesalers.com/how-to-make-e-liquid




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