Calls for the ban of flavored vape and e-cigarette use have reached as far as the White House after US President Donald Trump announced it would take action against its sale and use.
The announcement came amid reports of increasing cases of "mysterious" respiratory diseases and deaths among heavy vape users across 33 states in the United States.
In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Trump administration will not stand "idly as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth."
“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar said.
Despite denials from the American Vaping Association (AVA), Trump labeled vaping as "not wonderful" as his administration vowed to seek for measures to regulate the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
First Lady Melania Trump also took to Twitter to voice her concern on the e-cigarette use among youth.
"I am deeply concerned about the growing epidemic of e-cigarette use in our children. We need to do all we can to protect the public from tobacco-related disease and death, and prevent e-cigarettes from becoming an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for a generation of youth," the First Lady said in a tweet.
In response to the Trump administration, the AVA said it was "disappointed" on Trump's decision to strict on the millions member of vaping community, who have used e-cigarettes to quit smoking.
States, cities start ban
Health officials recently urged the public not to use e-cigarettes as they study the more than 450 cases of severe respiratory illnesses of people who have reportedly used vapes around the country.
At least three deaths have been reported so far by the health department, but several states announced that it had multiple deaths already due to the same case.
Some states and cities have also begun to take actions against e-cigarette in response to alarming cases of diseases and deaths.
Michigan is expected to become the first state to ban flavored e-cigarettes after cases on vape-related diseases spiked.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in a statement, welcomed the position of the White House on stricting against the sale of e-cigarettes, saying it was a "great news for our kids, our families, and our overall public health."
"Right now, companies are getting our kids hooked on nicotine by marketing flavors like apple juice, bubble gum, and candy," Whitmer said.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, September 9, also asked the state's health department to launch a campaign urging people to use e-cigarettes.
Cuomo in ordering a deeper investigation on the effects of vaping to people’s health said reports coming in about the outbreaks is a “frightening public health phenomenon.”
San Francisco, California had passed ban order against sale of vape since June, citing the dangers of the smoking device to the youth.
Juul's 'misleading' marketing stunt
At the height of the outbreak of vape-related diseases, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticized giant e-cigarette company Juul Labs for allegedly marketing its products as safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
In its warning letter to Juul, FDA said the company “adulterated” its products as healthier option without its approval, constituting violation to federal regulations.
“Regardless of where products like e-cigarettes fall on the continuum of tobacco product risk, the law is clear that, before marketing tobacco products for reduced risk, companies must demonstrate with scientific evidence that their specific product does in fact pose less risk or is less harmful,” FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said.
The warning came barely two weeks after the DFA also released an advisory showing findings from patients who were supposedly diagnosed with serious respiratory illnesses after recent use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarettes.
Patients reportedly showed these symptoms: difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever or fatigue.
“Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette products should not be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products,” FDA said, adding that people who have used e-cigarette should monitor if they possessed such symptoms.