In high schools, vaping has increased from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent of students in 2015, according to Teen Vogue. As a result, the FDA is going after companies like Juul and others similar to it (Suorin, iCare, etc.) for promoting underage use via concealable devices and other factors such as flavor. However, I’m not convinced this route is the best one.
The FDA started “the real cost campaign” in 2014, and the goal was to educate teens on the harmful effects of cigarettes. In 2016, they expanded the campaign to cover e-cigarettes and started going after companies appealing to younger buyers according to fda.gov. Earlier this year the FDA started issuing warnings to different online/traditional vape shops and imposed over 1,300 of these warnings with some fines included.
The FDA has now doubled down on its actions. On Sept. 12, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb posted a statement to fda.gov. He said, ”Given the magnitude of the problem, we’re requesting that the manufacturers of these brands and products come back to the FDA in 60 days with robust plans on how they’ll convincingly address the widespread use of their products by minors, or we’ll revisit the FDA’s exercise of enforcement discretion for products currently on the market.”
At the moment, the FDA is waiting for Juul and other companies to submit their ideas and planning for preventing teens from buying their product. This leaves vape retailers anticipating what will happen and if the possible regulations will come to change how they operate their business and what they can sell. The FDA is targeting the biggest vape companies that have discreet vapes because they see them as something a child can easily hide.
These retailers are rightfully worried because a large amount of their sales come from these devices. The disconnect comes where the FDA is assuming these smaller vapes are only for younger audiences to conceal them and don’t take into account the sales could be very high for the simple reason they may be popular with people trying to quit cigarettes.
Although vaping definitely isn’t good one’s health, it is better than doing almost any other type of drug. Almost every parent of high school kids have smoked a cigarette and I feel that vaping is the cigarettes of our generation.
There are a large amount of underage people using them just like cigarettes back in the 80s. However, vaping is 95 percent less harmful than smoking according to Public Health England. I would definitely rather have everyone vaping than smoking cigarettes and personally haven’t seen anybody smoke cigarettes as a result of vaping. I know a lot more people who quit smoking and now vape too. Lots of them use the same devices the FDA is trying to ban as they have the biggest resemblance to hitting a cigarette and that’s what people need to quit.
Not to mention students are using other devices than just the concealed ones trying to be banned. Considering vaping is an addiction, it may not even be right to just go and try to take them all away from kids. If the FDA goes after vaping and younger people lose their ability to use them, they may have withdrawal symptoms and even move to smoking cigarettes or weed just to smoke something. It may be best to find some type of way for kids to wean themselves off of them. The best way to quit vaping according to Allen Carr, whose written books on quitting cigarettes, is to set a date to stop vaping and do it less everyday until that day arrives.
Time will tell what happens to these e-cigarettes and others in the future. Vaping is still a very new concept to a lot of people and I feel the FDA needs to slow down and try to find an understanding of what factors go into it more. Underage vaping is undoubtedly an issue that needs to be addressed and fixed. I just don’t think the FDA is prepared or informed enough to start making the regulations they are currently.