At the beginning of September, Donald Trump proposed a US flavour ban on e-liquids. The announcement came amid a number of deaths which at the time were attributed to vaping. Since then, there have been a number of developments in the truth behind the deaths and it now seems Trump has taken a step back on his proposed ban.
The so-called ‘vaping-related deaths’ were covered heavily by news outlets throughout September. The headlines however, were quite misleading as the causes were attributed to vaping. In the past few weeks, the true cause of the tragic deaths and illnesses has been officially released.
CDC releases statement on the truth behind the illnesses
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention updated its evidence on the incidents last week. The statement now reads ‘Recent CDC laboratory testing of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (fluid samples collected from the lungs) from 29 patients with EVALI submitted to CDC from 10 states found vitamin E acetate in all of the samples.’ Vitamin E acetate is not allowed as an e-liquid ingredient in any EU country, including the UK.
Initially, headlines had suggested that it was e-cigarettes and nicotine containing e-liquid that were to blame. This led to the rash announcement of a flavour ban from the president and seemingly the end of the US vaping industry as we know it. However, amid the findings from the CDC, Trump has taken a step back.
Trump halts US flavour ban to avoid push back from his supporters
According to the New York Times, Donald Trump has ‘resisted moving forward with any action on vaping’. The NY Times article explains that this decision came as he was ‘under pressure from his political advisers and lobbyists to factor in the potential pushback from his supporters’.
Whilst the alleged reasoning for Trump’s reversal may not fill us with confidence, it is good news to hear that the proposed ban has at least halted for now.
The vaping industry in the US is huge and a lot of vapers and business owners have been campaigning against the ban. A flavour ban would of course have a huge impact on vape business owners, vapers and public health in the country.
Flavours are a real driving factor for the success of vaping as a smoking cessation aid, particularly here in the UK. Without this choice, we could expect a real downfall in the popularity of vaping. This would undoubtedly have had a knock-on effect and result in an increase in smoking rates.
The importance of e-liquid flavours
On Thursday, 14th November Liam Humberstone, Totally Wicked Technical Director spoke at the annual UK E-cigarette Summit. As part of Liam’s presentation, he explored the importance and popularity of e-liquid flavours in the UK.
In the audience at the Summit were key policy makers and influencers from many countries around the world, including the USA. Liam’s figures turned heads in the crowd with attendees expressing surprise at the popularity of e-liquid flavours other than tobacco.
Taking figures from Totally Wicked’s historic sales of Red Label, Liam explained that just 8% of sales were made up of tobacco or unflavoured varieties. A further 18% were made up of menthol flavours which would not have been covered by Trump’s ban. This therefore shows that 74% of Totally Wicked Red Label sales would be illegal if Trump’s ban was passed in the UK.
Some vaping opponents argue that flavoured e-liquids are designed to attract youth into vaping. There is little evidence to support this claim, certainly in the UK, where youth vaping rates are reassuringly very low, particularly among those that have never smoked. The aforementioned data shows that they are however very attractive to adults, thus providing smokers with a wider choice when making the switch away from cigarettes. Far from a public health concern, flavours are in fact a real positive for public health.