Following seven deaths and hundreds of lung-related illnesses reported across 33 states since August, the Trump administration has wasted no time in taking action, even though the cause of the outbreak is yet to be identified by health officials. In a move targeted particularly at young people who have taken up vaping, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has announced plans to remove all non-tobacco flavors from the market, with New York being the first to initiate the ban.
US Health Secretary Alex Azar said the officials were not prepared to “stand idly by” as a new generation become addicted to nicotine yet again.
What is causing the Problem?
Although the exact cause of the deaths and illnesses has not yet been determined, one common thread that has emerged is that the smokers concerned were all vaping Black Market products that contained THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Nearly all the cases reported involved people who had vaped a combination of nicotine and THC oil.
Will the flavor ban work?
There have to be some concerns that the ban will actually be counter-productive, and lead to a growth in the use of black-market products that are not regulated, and could contain a host of harmful ingredients.
At the same time, it could lead to the demonization of vaping and the vape industry. Hailed not so very long ago as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, placing restrictions on the use of vaping products and e-cigarettes could drive some people to the black market or back to smoking traditional cigarettes, with all the risks to human health associated with that.
What effect will the ban have on the Cannabis Industry?
In the short-term at least, the ban is expected to have little direct impact on the Cannabis Industry, except, perhaps to re-open the debate about its legality in some uninformed quarters.
Longer-term there has been suggestions of regulations coming into force, specifically aimed at banning the use of non-natural additives and cutting agents in all vape cartridges.
Michael Elias, CEO of Michigan Pure Med said: “Manufacturers are cutting corners by using non-natural ingredients as additives in vape cartridges, We urge swift action by elected leaders to ban this potentially hazardous practice.”