According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, last November, the number of high-school and middle-school students who actively use vapes was a shocking 78 percent. Therefore, it is fair to say that there is an epidemic of vaping and this is especially true for teenagers. This is attributable to the nicotine within the vape juice that is addictive. Not only that but many of the top vaping companies heavily market to the adolescent age group, making them believe that this is the new trend. Teens are enticed by the interesting forms that the vape container can take, for example, JUUL develops their products in the form of a USB. Or these teens are attracted to the tasty flavours that the vape juices can come in. Nicotine, a very addictive substance, can have adverse effects on the growth and development of a young growing brain.
Due to this growing concern, the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr Scott Gottlieb threatened the largest vaping companies to cease their marketing strategies that target teens. As it is their jurisdiction, the FDA has issued a notice for all of the major e-cigarette companies to go through the formal FDA approval process. Also, he backed these demand by issuing threats that if they don’t comply with these regulations then they will be ‘game over for these products’. Many organizations are in support of this change such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Heart Association.
The major companies in the vaping industry who are targeted are JUUL, Logic, Fontem Ventures BV’s blu, Altria Group Inc.’s Markten and British American Tobacco’s PLc’s Vuse. Together, these companies make up 98 percent of the market. The FDA, being firm in their stance, has issued a 60-day deadline for these companies to stop aggressively advertising to teens or have their products removed from the market. They even went further to issue 56 warning letter to the retailers of JUUL products, deeming it illegal to sell e-cigars to kids.
The FDA explains that these products were created to smoothly wean adults off their tobacco cigarette addiction, however, instead, it is used as a source of addiction for teens and has become an epidemic. Earlier this year, the FDA launched the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan whose primary goals are to:
- 1.Educate the teens about the negative effects of tobacco products
- 2.Deter any marketing strategies that are geared towards the youth
- 3.Prevent teens from gaining access to tobacco products
Furthermore, online and physical retailers are prohibited from selling vapes to under-aged customers and are not allowed to sell any other flavours than tobacco, mint and menthol. Anyone who fails to comply with these regulations will be subjected to the scrutiny of the FDA. However, it should be noted that these restrictions are not imposed on vape stores and speciality stores which are usually frequented by adults who have the aim to quit smoking.