WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he will be meeting with vaping industry representatives as his administration considers tightening e-cigarette regulations amid a nationwide outbreak of vaping-related injuries and deaths.
“Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump did not give a time for the meeting or offer any other details. He said on Friday that his administration would come out with “an important position” on vaping this week.
On Thursday, the CDC reported there have been 2,051 confirmed and probable U.S. lung injury cases and 39 deaths associated with use of e-cigarettes, or vaping products. Nearly 85 percent of lung injury patients in the nationwide outbreak have reported using products containing THC, the component of marijuana that gets people high.
In the CDC analysis, THC was detected in 23 of 28 patient samples of lung cells, including from three patients who said they did not use THC products. Nicotine was detected in 16 of 26 patient samples.
U.S. public health officials have recommended that people avoid using e-cigarettes that contain THC or any products that come from illicit sources.
The Trump administration in September said the Food and Drug Administration was working on a “guidance document” that would lead to a ban of all e-cigarette flavors, aside from tobacco flavoring.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters that once the guidance was finalized, enforcement actions would begin to remove the products from store shelves.
In his remarks on Friday, Trump indicated that a flavor ban was still under consideration, but that other actions were as well, including raising the age limit for e-cigarette purchases.
Asked if Juul Labs Inc, which dominates the U.S. e-cigarette market, would participate in the discussions, a Juul spokesperson said the company was not lobbying on the issue.
“We are continuing to refrain from lobbying the administration on its draft flavor guidance while we take significant actions to combat underage use and convert adult smokers,” the spokesperson said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Writing by Doina Chiacu and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)