AUG 31, 2018 12:10 PM PDT

Should the FDA Tighten Regulations on Vaping Products?

The use of E-cigarettes, or vape pens, has skyrocketed among young people. Despite federal laws that mandate customers be at least 18 years of age to purchase vape products like pens, juices, and oils, vaping is popular with children as young as middle school age.

Critics say that it's the marketing. Companies that make the cartridges and products sell oils and e-juice in flavors like "Sour gummy" or whipped cream, and even fruit flavors that suggest it's simply healthy "fruit juice." In marketing studies, many young people believe that vaping is not dangerous, or at least not AS dangerous as smoking traditional cigarettes. That's not entirely accurate. Many vape pens use nicotine in highly concentrated amounts, topped off with a fun "flavor" of peach or birthday cake. While the taste is nothing like a Marlboro or a Lucky Strike, the flavoring of candy and sweet treats, leads to the belief that it's harmless. The chemicals that are in the vapor, along with the chemical reaction that happens when the material is heated, combine to create a vapor of aerosilized liquid droplets that can often contain toxic materials like lead and arsenic. Respiratory problems have been linked to many of these substances, but the brightly colored packaging and fruity flavors send an entirely different message.

So how widespread is the use of vape pens among those under 18? A report from the US Surgeon General shows that the number of high school students using a vape pen regularly went up 900% in during between 2011 and 2015. Approximately 1.7 million high school students report using vaping devices, and more than 500,000 middle schoolers have as well. In an article in the JPost, e-cigarettes made by Juul are being banned, beginning September 3, 2018 according to a Ministry of Health statement, because they pose “a grave risk to public health.” 

The technology makes it a lot easier for kids to sneak a pen into classrooms, because most of the favorite brands of pens, like Juul, create little to no odor. The devices are small and can resemble a pencil, a screen stylus or even a USB drive, so they are not that noticeable visually either. Groups like the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have notified the FDA of manufacturers they believe are violating current FDA regulations on new products, alleging that companies are bringing new flavors and devices to market without FDA approval.

RELATED: Is it Candy or Vape Juice?

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told USA Today that the marketing devices and flavors targeting youth put kids at an "exceedingly high risk" of developing a nicotine addiction. Earlier this month the agency contacted vape manufacturers, including JUUL Labs, Inc., and asked for information on their marketing and manufacturing processes and reminding them that action could be taken if they were found in violation of the agency policy.

The FDA is also considering a ban on specific flavors of e-juice that it believes are marketing inappropriately to young people, but will first be rolling out a public service informational campaign on the dangers of vaping. They are also considering more research into what precisely in the marketing of these products is working to draw in younger consumers. Gottlieb stated further to USA Today, "We are very concerned that we could be addicting a whole generation of young people. We only have a narrow window of opportunity to address it." Check out the clip below to see more about the steps being taken to curb vape use among young people.

Sources: USA Today FDA Vaping 360 US Surgeon General CDC Infographic CDC E-Cig Usage Study CDC Vape Fact Sheets JPost

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
DEC 28, 2020
How an Herbal Compound May Fight Pancreatic Cancer
For centuries, Chinese practitioners have used herbs to treat all kinds of ailments. New research has shown that one of ...
DEC 30, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Of Mice and Men: Deep Learning Transforms Diagnostics
DEC 30, 2020
Of Mice and Men: Deep Learning Transforms Diagnostics
Medical imaging technologies enable physicians to take a peek under the hood, capturing snapshots of the internal organs ...
JAN 07, 2021
Clinical & Molecular DX
Breath of Life: Nighttime Respiratory Rates Identify Which Heart Patients Need Surgery
JAN 07, 2021
Breath of Life: Nighttime Respiratory Rates Identify Which Heart Patients Need Surgery
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, taking nearly 18 million lives every year. Of these card ...
JAN 12, 2021
Cardiology
SGLT2 Inhibitors Can Reduce the Cardiovascular Risk for Diabetics Being Treated with Insulin
JAN 12, 2021
SGLT2 Inhibitors Can Reduce the Cardiovascular Risk for Diabetics Being Treated with Insulin
One of the biggest problems that come alongside diabetes is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Treatment of d ...
JAN 19, 2021
Immunology
Food Allergies Be Gone: Nanoparticles Call for an Immune Ceasefire
JAN 19, 2021
Food Allergies Be Gone: Nanoparticles Call for an Immune Ceasefire
Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish—these foods are among the most unwanted list for t ...
JAN 17, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
How a Nutrient Can Aid in Infection Prevention
JAN 17, 2021
How a Nutrient Can Aid in Infection Prevention
Antibiotic-resistant microbes are considered to be a serious threat to public health, one of many reasons why it's impor ...
Loading Comments...