President Trump says the White House will soon unveil new minimum age requirements for vaping products in an effort to combat teen use. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Trump said his administration plans to implement a new policy that will raise the age limit for e-cigarettes from 18 to “21 or so.”
“We’re going to be coming out with a very important position on vaping. We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we're going to have an age limit of 21 or so, but we'll be coming out with something next week very important on vaping," he said.
The Trump administration initially proposed banning all non-tobacco flavored pods back in September, saying the move would help reduce youth use of the products since flavored pods tend to appeal to teenage users.
Critics of the plan have argued that the flavors on the market should remain because they help adult smokers quit. Government officials are now considering raising the minimum age requirement to counter rising levels of teen use.
"We have a lot of people to look at, including jobs, quite frankly," Trump said. "Because, you know, it's become a pretty big industry."
He added that details on the potential minimum vaping age increase will be coming next week. CNBC points out that the FDA doesn’t have the authority to raise the smoking age, so it’s “unclear” how the Trump administration plans to go about implementing and enforcing a new minimum vaping age.
Addressing health concerns
Word of the expected policy change comes as health officials continue to investigate an uptick in vaping-related lung injuries. Just a few days ago, the CDC said recent research appears to indicate that vitamin E acetate — which is present in many cannabis vaping products — is a likely culprit.
Market leader Juul has been called out for its role in fueling what regulators have called a teen vaping “epidemic.” The e-cigarette maker has been a vocal supporter of bumping the minimum age of vaping to 21.
In March, Juul said “raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 is not the only strategy for reducing underage use, we believe it is critical because it will prevent high-school seniors and recent high-school graduates from purchasing tobacco products and sharing them with underage users.”
Several states have already enacted state-level regulations to counter teen use. Lawmakers have also pushed to limit the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes as a way to address concerns about the health effects of the products.