NEW YORK: New Yorkers who vape do not seem to mind if President Donald Trump pushes through a proposed ban on flavored e-cigarettes, admitting that widespread youth addiction needed to be controlled and expressing hope that it might help them quit.
The plan, announced on Wednesday by Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, would remove all flavored e-cigarettes from store shelves. Only tobacco-flavored products would be available.
The aim is to discourage vaping, especially by minors, after a handful of deaths and hundreds of lung illnesses have been linked to the practice. A majority of young vapers use only the flavored variety.
"He would be doing me a favor," said Antoinette Quiles, a 31-year-old carpenter, as she inhaled from her Juul outside a New York subway stop. "Hopefully, if its not available, I wont buy it. Ive tried to stop and put it away, but its available."
In interviews with a dozen New Yorkers who said they regularly vaped, no one expressed dismay that the government might crack down on the widely preferred flavored pods.
Lawmakers, public-health advocates and parents have urged the federal government to step in to restrict e-cigarettes, introduced more than a decade ago as an alternative for cigarette-addicted adults. But vaping has exploded in popularity among young people.
The proposal followed recent flavor bans by state and local governments. Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed to ban flavors of e-cigarettes throughout the state, following Michigan, which imposed a ban last week. San Francisco took the ban one step further, banning the sale of all e-cigarettes.
Preliminary data show more than a quarter of U.S. high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, an increase of 20.8per cent from last year, the Health and Human Services Department said.
"Its fine if they think thats going to be a deterrent for young kids that arent of age to buy them," said Nick Agosti, a 31-year-old assistant community school director, adding he would miss the flavors. "It's something that needs to be addressed."
'IT'S E-CIGARETTES THEMSELVES'
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March formally proposed guidelines that would prohibit the sale of flavored e-cigarette products, except mint and menthol, in traditional retail outlets. Under that proposal, which had not been finalized, e-cigarette makers could still sell flavored products online and in age-restricted st