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Army, Navy, and Air Force ban sale of e-cigs and vape products at exchange stores

Sgt. 1st Class Bryson Briles (left) and Staff Sgt. Jorge Flechas enjoy a relaxing moment vaping before heading to class at U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College Sept. 5, 2019. Briles said he vapes as a safer alternative to cigarettes. Flechas said he vapes for recreational purposes. Health officials say they suspect the more than 200 recent deaths and serious illnesses across a 25-state area in the United States are the result of vaping. (Eric Pilgrim/U.S. Army)
September 25, 2019

The Army, Navy, and Air Force have banned the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products from exchange stores this month, and the ban will be in full effect on Oct. 1.

The decision to ban vaping products, which was first reported by Task & Purpose on Tuesday, was revealed after the Army Public Health Center issued a Public Health Alert advising service members and their families not to use e-cigarettes or vaping products.

The advisory cited “hundreds of cases of lung injury” and “numerous” deaths associated with vaping.

“Until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments to collect information on e-cigarette and vape products is complete, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is removing these products from its assortment, effective close of business Sept. 30,” Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) spokesman Chris Ward told American Military News on Wednesday.

While the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) did not sell vaping products to begin with, it has barred all vendors from selling vaping products.

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“On Sept. 12, NEXCOM made the decision to begin the process of removing e-cigarettes and vaping products from all NEX locations by Oct. 1,” NEXCOM spokesperson Courtney Williams told American Military News, adding that the decision “also prohibits NEX concessionaires or vendors from selling e-cigarettes or vaping products in any NEX location after Oct. 1.”

The Marine Corps has not yet made a decision to adopt a ban.

Bryan Driver, spokesperson for the Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) told American Military News that the MCX “has not yet made a decision on removing vaping products from our stores.”

Following an outbreak of illnesses and deaths that have been attributed to vaping, the Trump Administration is preparing a ban on flavored vape products, Politico reported earlier this month.

“We can’t allow people to get sick and we can’t have our youth be so affected,” President Donald Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. “People are dying from vaping, so we’re looking at it very closely.”

The Administration is also working on a rule that would require all e-cigarette manufacturers to submit products for a federal review before May 2020 or stop selling them.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar said.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed last week that at least seven deaths in six states and “530 cases of lung injury reported from 38 states and 1 U.S. territory” had occurred in connection to vaping.

However, the CDC also noted that most affected patients used tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or a combination of THC and nicotine vaping products, which is not an intended use for most e-cigarette devices.