FDA Seeks to Restrict Teens’ Access of E-Cigarettes



Caitlynn Cook, Copy Editor

Over the past few years, a dangerous, risky, unhealthy and illegal trend has been growing within the teenage generation, one in which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to take action against. The agency plans to ban menthol cigarettes and restrict e-cigarette flavors.

According to the FDA, “e-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78 percent among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48 percent among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%).”

E-cigarettes – the most popular being the Juul, which resembles a flash drive – were originally created to help adults stop smoking. However, because they are not only sold in smoke shops, but pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations as well, they are easy for teens to gain access to. This is dangerous because just one Juul pod provides as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. According to the FDA, more than 3.6 million Americans under the age of 18 vape.

On Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, the FDA will hold a public hearing to discuss efforts to eliminate youth e-cigarette use. According to WebMD, the FDA is doing their best to avoid legal battles, and that is why there will only be restrictions on e-cigarettes instead of a ban. So far, e-cigarette manufacturing companies are complying with this, while the long-term health consequences of vaping are still unknown.

Juul Labs, the largest e-cigarette seller, has announced they are stopping retail sales of flavors, except for tobacco, mint and menthol. They have also shut down their social media accounts. “Our intent was never to have youth use Juul. But intent is not enough. The numbers are what matter, and the numbers tell us underage use of e-cigarettes is a problem,” Juul CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement.