The feds are coming for your crème brûlée. In an announcement scheduled for next week, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to roll out new restrictions on the sale of e-cigarette and vaping products, according to The Washington Post. The reported changes will be an aggressive next step in the agency’s ongoing effort to curb vaping’s explosive popularity with American teens, and they’ll remove many super-popular flavored products from a majority of the brick-and-mortar locations where they’re currently sold in the United States.
Before vapers start hoarding their preferred pods, though, consider that the changes are complicated, to put it mildly. The restrictions, which a spokesperson for the FDA would not confirm, will reportedly apply to the closed-pod systems particularly popular among teens, but not to refillable tank vapes. The ban will affect flavored products, except for mint and menthol, because those flavors are also widely available in conventional cigarettes. The flavored pods will be removed from convenience stores and gas stations, but big-box stores and grocery stores seem to still be able to sell them, in addition to vape and tobacco shops.
The incredible specificity of these new rules is a way for the FDA to balance vaping’s potential harm to teens with the need to make safer cigarette alternatives available for people who already smoke. It’s an intricate, complicated maneuver aimed at protecting two separate groups whose best interests are at odds. Essentially, the FDA is trying to use federal law to solve a mango-flavored trolley problem.