FDA is Considering a Ban on Flavored E-Cig Liquids After Teen Vaping Reaches Epidemic Levels
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering among other things a ban on flavored e-cigarette liquids after reports show that teen vaping is reaching epidemic levels. According to a report on USA Today, federal officials and public health advocates seem to agree that vaping is a huge problem when it comes to the nation’s youth. But, they are divided on how fast and far to go when it comes to reining in the booming e-cigarette industry.
Some of the health groups that sued the FDA for delaying regulation of vape products by four years said last week that the agency let several new devices similar to the youth-favored Juul hit the market without approval. Safety advocates said these companies have brazenly introduced new products at an alarming pace in “total defiance of the law.”
And it’s affecting our young people. More than 2 million middle school, high school and college teens use these battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Among teens, e-cigarettes were by far the most popular tobacco product. This puts youth at a high risk of developing nicotine addiction.
E-Cigs Hurt Young People
The FDA is reviewing more than half million public comments as it considers restricting or even banning flavors of liquids. It is also looking into marketing by companies such as Juul to youth. These vaping devices come with nicotine-packed products in attractive flavors such as cherry and cotton candy, not to mention an alluring social media presence. The FDA has asked four e-cig companies for information about the appeal of their products to young people and said it could take enforcement action against the companies based on the findings. The FDA is also getting ready to launch a vaping prevention campaign targeting 10 million youths.
The agency has also asked for more research on the role specific flavors of e-cigs are playing when it comes to attracting young people. Safety advocates say there is enough evidence to show that flavors do attract teens. E-cigarettes have been marketed as alternatives to traditional cigarettes saying they can subdue smokers’ urges for nicotine with tobacco, which is a known carcinogen. However, several research studies have shown that the chemicals in e-cigarette fluid could cause significant lung damage and could potentially cause cancer as well. Also, we’re seeing more evidence that youth who use e-cigarettes are in fact four times as likely to begin smoking tobacco cigarettes.
The Urgent Need for Regulation
More and more parents are finding their children addicted to different types of vaping devices. Juul is one we’re hearing about quite a bit now. There have been civil lawsuits and class action lawsuits filed against these e-cigarette companies by parents whose children have become addicted to these products and whose lives have been adversely affected. For a long time, e-cigarette companies have operated in a landscape without much regulation. It is about time the FDA does its job and regulates these products to protect our youth.