"We know the methods of the big tobacco. It is not the first time. They are targeting children, putting them in grave danger, "said former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York.

A health crisis

The electronic cigarette kills: there are no less than six deaths of young people related to vaping in the United States. Apart from the problem of nicotine addiction that is dangerous for developing brains, 450 people became seriously ill after vaping, and six died of acute lung diseases. .

The sick cough, pant, do not breathe. Many are hospitalized in intensive care and connected to artificial respirators. Healthy young people found themselves in artificial comas.

In many cases, the liquids contained THC, the psychoactive substance of cannabis, but it is likely that this was one of many additives in liquids that damaged the lungs by being vaporized and inhaled. New York State has cited vitamin E oil as a possible cause, but this is not confirmed by the FDA.

Teens heavy consumers of electronic cigarettes

Originally, electronic cigarettes were presented as a substitute, without carcinogenic substance, for smokers. But the studies showed not only that the use of other tobacco products had not declined between 2017 and 2018, but also that the electronic cigarette was a gateway to tobacco, e-cigarettes flavored with strawberry or mango, the most popular among young people, making us forget the presence of nicotine.

Faced with this health crisis Washington is now taking the risks of e-cigarettes among young people seriously. The number of high school students who use e-cigarettes has risen from 3.6 million last year to 5 million this year, according to figures released by the US Department of Health.

While one in five high school students said it was a vape last year, the first figures of the new survey "show that more than a quarter of high school students were users of electronic cigarettes in 2019", says the ministry.

A regulatory offensive to counteract this "epidemic"

Faced with this epidemic Donald Trump wants to take the problem head-on. "It creates a lot of problems [...] We may have to decide something firm," Donald Trump announced from the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday after a meeting with his Secretary of Health and with the regulator of the sector.

The government of Donald Trump announced Wednesday that flavored electronic cigarettes would be banned for sale in colleges and high schools. Health authorities have announced the forthcoming ban on flavored liquids, eg menthol, mango or strawberry, not because the flavors are considered harmful in themselves, but because they attract a whole generation of young people who become addicted to nicotine, erasing years of progress against cigarettes.

Any taste other than tobacco taste will soon be removed from the market, said Health Secretary Alex Azar. The text will appear in "several weeks" and will come into effect 30 days later.

The FDA, considered too lax by some, has just sent a letter to industry leader Juul, pointing to a misleading presentation of its products to students and parents. The Federal Trade Commission has also just opened an investigation into Juul's business practices to verify the conditions under which the Californian start-up is checking the age of buyers of its products.

Some states have begun to take up the subject. San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes in the city starting in 2020 while the governor of Michigan announced last week the ban on flavored products.

Jenny Chase for DayNewsWorld