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Should we ban flavored e-cigarettes? The FDA could do it

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: A woman poses while smoking a vape stick at the Cannabis World Congress Expo on June 19, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — It seems like only just a few weeks ago, headlines and social media feeds blared the same message: ban flavored e-cigarettes.

At the beginning of last month, the federal government said they had plans in motion to ban thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes.

According to reports from the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration has had the authority to ban vaping flavors since 2016, but they have been resistant to do so. A new report from the LA Times says the agency tried as early as 2015 to ban flavored vape juice but says the concerns preceded even that.

The LA Times says the reason action wasn’t taken that early was because it was nixed by senior Obama administration officials.

By 2014, the CDC reported that in just three years, vaping in middle and high schools had increased by nearly 800%. A national survey by the FDA and National Institutes of Health asked young people who vaped why they did it. More than 80% marked the answer: ‘It comes in flavors I like.’

Should we ban flavored e-cigs now?

“You can’t talk to me about banning vaping if we’re not also talking about banning cigarettes,” Dave Noriega said on Tuesday’s Dave and Dujanovic Show.

“480,000 Americans are dying every year from smoking cigarettes and after 15 deaths from vaping, we’re ready to burn down the vape shops. Why vaping now?” he continued.

According to the latest statistics, there are 15 confirmed deaths due to illnesses related to vaping, and 800 illnesses, over 70 of which are here in the state of Utah.

“It doesn’t seem to be any clustering or any particular underground producer of THC cartridges in Kansas or something,” said reporter Sean Michael-Lisle, updating Dujanovic and Noriega. “This is a widespread issue anywhere there is vaping taking place in the country, which is most places now.”

In Utah

The Utah Department of Health says their evidence shows the majority of those Utahns sickened, 94% of the cases, vaped THC.

Keegan McCaffey, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health, said in the report, “Six percent of those cases have self-reported that they were only vaping nicotine products, compared to 36% of cases where they reported only vaping THC. The majority (58%), however, vaped both.”

These findings led investigators to conclude THC may be a factor in the illnesses, but they still aren’t sure what it is specifically that is putting people in the hospital.

“I think it could be months before we learn what the chemical is that is causing these injuries. What we are saying right now is that it is very likely in THC cartridges and we do not recommend anybody vape THC cartridges,” McCaffrey said.

The rest of the conversation

You can hear the rest of the conversation on the Dave and Dujanovic Podcast: