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OHA statement in response to FDA sales ban on flavored nicotine vaping products

January 3, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority has issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Jan. 2 decision on flavored vaping products.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has been closely following the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement of a partial sales ban on flavored nicotine vaping products. According to the FDA, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarette (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement action.

OHA has repeatedly urged the FDA to ban all flavored tobacco products, without exemptions. While we recognize FDA’s intent, the proposed enforcement action falls short of its stated goal to protect the public’s health. The FDA’s action exempts menthol and open tank e-cigarettes, which allow customers to custom-mix flavors. These exemptions will drastically limit FDA’s effectiveness in reducing youth vaping. The most recent evidence shows that mint and menthol are among the most popular vape flavors for youth. This comes on top of decades of tobacco industry targeting of African-American communities with menthol marketing and discounts, contributing to a heavier burden of tobacco use, death and disease in that population. The FDA’s action also falls short on limiting youth access. Several studies have shown that it’s easier for underage buyers to purchase vaping products illegally from vape shops than from other types of retailers.

In December, the U.S. Congress passed legislation raising the national tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21. This is an important step to curb youth tobacco use. But Oregon’s experience shows that raising the minimum age is not enough to stem the youth e-cigarette epidemic. As one of the first states to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21, Oregon still experienced a nearly 80% increase in youth e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2019. One in four Oregon 11th-graders report current use of e-cigarettes and vaping products like Juul.

OHA continues to work on decreasing the use of all vaping products and implementing Gov. Kate Brown’s Executive Order 19-09. OHA is committed to developing strong programs and policies that put protecting Oregon’s kids first – not the tobacco and vape industry.

If you are ready to quit vaping or quit using other tobacco products, free help is available to anyone in Oregon.

The Oregon Quit Line is a free, telephone and web-based program that helps youth and adults quit vaping nicotine. It offers free confidential, evidence-based counseling and materials. Callers 18 years and older can receive Nicotine Replacement Therapy in the form of patches or gum.

This is Quitting powered by truth® is a free, confidential, 24-7 texting program for young people who vape.

 Media contact

Jonathan Modie

OHA External Relations

971-246-9139
phd.communications@dhsoha.state.or.us

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