Federal health administrators are issuing a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarette liquids, with the exception of menthol and tobacco flavors and other forms of liquid nicotine.

Companies must cease the manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based cigarettes within 30 days, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday.

Vape Hawaii sign Vape shop.
Hawaii teens report vaping much more frequently than the national average. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

The move is an effort to curb the increasing vaping rate among youth.

“HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a release. “By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth.”

Restrictions do not affect sales of customizable flavor tank systems at vape shops.

“The enforcement policy we’re issuing today confirms our commitment to dramatically limit children’s access to certain flavored e-cigarette products we know are so appealing to them — so-called cartridge-based products that are both easy to use and easily concealable,” said Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn in a news release.

Hawaii high schoolers and middle schoolers report using electronic smoking devices at rates exponentially higher than the national average. Public health experts and doctors are concerned that vaping has hooked a new generation on nicotine.

A string of lung injuries — many of which are related to vaping THC — have resulted in 55 deaths as of Dec. 27.

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