Updated: Feb 28, 2019
E-cigarettes have become popular among teens because of the various flavors they offer but soon these flavors will be off the market.
By Meg Taylor, News Editor
The FDA recently threatened Juul and other e-cigarette distributors to stop producing flavored e-cigarettes targeted towards a younger audience or else their products will be taken off the market permanently.
Along with Juul, British American Tobacco’s Vuse, Altria’s MarkTen, Imperial Brands’ Blu E-cigs and Japan Tobacco’s Logic are also being required to submit plans within 60 days detailing how they will prevent teens from using their products. This historic crackdown on e-cigarette retailers is in hopes to control the epidemic of teen smoking.
“More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017,” the FDA said, “and e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth.”
The National Institute of Drug Abuse surveyed teens on why they smoked e-cigarettes: “66.0 percent say just flavoring, 13.7 percent don’t know, 13.2 percent say nicotine, 5.8 percent say marijuana, and 1.3 percent say other.” The FDA’s demands to remove the flavoring from e-cigarettes may prove to be the strongest solution to reducing teen use.
“I used to only like the mint, but now I only smoke mango,” said Los Angeles Valley College student Emily Brooke. “If they were to get rid of the flavors, I would not smoke them anymore.”
Some teens argue that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to cigarettes Advertisers claim that e-cigarettes are less harmful due to containing fewer toxins than cigarettes; however, they are not free of toxins and still deliver harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, particulates and metals.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine stated in a January 2018 report, “While e-cigarettes deliver lower levels of carcinogens than conventional cigarettes, they also expose users to high levels of ultrafine particles and other toxins that have been linked to increased cardiovascular and non-cancer lung disease risks– which account for more than half of all smoking-caused deaths.”
The first substantial evidence of long-term health damage from e-cigarettes was reported in February by researchers from the University of San Francisco. The study concluded that daily use of electronic cigarettes is associated with nearly a doubling the odds of a heart attack.
“The new study of nearly 70,000 people found that heightened heart attack risk for e-cigarettes is on top of the effects of conventional cigarettes, which by themselves nearly triple the odds of heart attack risk when smoked daily.”
Big e-cigarette retailers distribute their products worldwide to commonly visited places such as 7-Eleven and Shell gas stations with the notion that the sellers are only selling to people of legal age. However, placing their products in convenient locations where youth commonly spend a lot of their time is making the e-cigarettes easily obtainable. Also, some companies offer store locators on their websites so consumers can easily find the closest store to them to purchase their e-cigarette products. Juul released a statement regarding this issue and taking a stance against the underage use of their products.
“We already have in place programs to identify and act upon these violations at retail and online marketplaces,” the statement read, “and we will have more aggressive plans to announce in the coming days.”
We have reached out to Juul for further comment on their response to the FDA’s demands and to learn more about their aggressive plans to combat teen usage of their products but have received no comment.