As mentioned in the story “Trump administration will propose banning flavors used in e-cigarettes" (Sept. 12), the federal government has finally taken responsibility to address the “epidemic” of youth vaping, particularly in high school students. While this is certainly something to celebrate, we must keep our guard up and states should take this opportunity to step up with state-wide bans on all flavored tobacco products.
According to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, companies can apply for the Food and Drug Administration’s permission to reenter their flavored e-cigarette products to the market and receive approval as long as the products provide “net benefit” for public health. However, the term “net” can be very ambiguous. In fact, the FDA has a bad track record of approving products without proper consideration. For example, in the FDA’s approval of a new version of aripiprazole, a popular antipsychotic drug, research found that 80% of the scientific papers used to justify approval were misleading about the drug’s potential benefits.
We cannot sit around while the FDA finishes their plan to take flavored e-cigarettes off the market. Maryland and other states should act during this time with a ban on all flavored tobacco products. This will help ensure that flavored e-cigarettes don’t land in kids’ hands and also encourage the FDA to take strong and lasting action.
The writer is a public health intern at Maryland PIRG.
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