Vaping is getting a bunch of bad press these days with reports of potential bacteria in E-Liquids and E-cigarettes leading to some cases of seizures in younger users.
The latest news story to upset vapers is about the FDA’s wish to ban E-cigarette flavors. Does the FDA have enough supporting evidence to make the case against vaping or is it all just about politics? A recent press release from the FDA about E-cigarettes and vaping revealed that up to 35 cases were brought to them regarding people experiencing seizures or convulsions after vaping. While that number seems and is low, it’s still a cause for concern among health officials.
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the statement that the FDA intends to tighten regulations surrounding the sale of fruity E-cigarette flavors, to try and make them less appealing to teenagers and kids. E-cigarette use has taken off in a big way with teenagers and high school students and is even being dubbed an “epidemic” by some.
According to a recent CNBC report, Gottlieb said, “We think flavored products represent a greater risk to youth appeal, so when we’re looking at the public health value and redeeming qualities of products, we generally feel flavors have more to prove at this point.” The new proposal would look to give the FDA powers to remove any fruity E-liquids from the shelves that they don’t like the look of. It would also give them greater powers to penalize E-Cigarette manufacturers and vendors for selling E-liquids that don’t comply with the regulations.
The FDA’s stance to ban fruity E-cigarette flavors like Bubble Gum, Sour Sticks, and Rainbow Candy is a valid one, especially considering all those in the under 16 category who use these regularly. Many of these children are so drawn to the novel flavors that they try vaping, in some cases, from as young as six years old. And where there’s nicotine or the newly popular nicotine salts that are even stronger, that could have a devastating effect on a child; an eventuality the FDA would rather stop in its tracks.
The new move would also limit and further regulate the sale of flavored nicotine pods in disposable systems like the Juul. While the FDA previously turned a blind eye to these pod systems, Gottlieb explained that they would be coming under further scrutiny. “I think the marketability of pod-based products will be called into question if youth use rates continue to climb at the rates they’re climbing,” said Gottlieb.
The FDA was more or less forced to take action following months of pressure from groups asking them to control the massive upsurge in teen E-cigarette use. The FDA already took some steps back in 2016 when they began regulating E-cigarettes. At that time, they put a freeze on new products entering the market and made those already being sold subject to retroactive applications for approval.
For his part, Gottlieb is no lover of E-cigarettes even though he does recognize specifically that they have helped thousands of adults to give up smoking traditional cigarettes. In any event, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey had some damning statistics. That report showed that high school students using E-cigarettes had increased by 78 percent from 2017-2018 and it’s likely due to the rise of these trendy e-liquid flavors, hense the perceived urgency of this possible ban.
No matter which side you’re on, the FDA has been forced to take these steps and if that means that the recent epidemic of teen vaping is reduced then so be it. In any case, the new legislation will hopefully only have minimal impact on adults who wish to vape.
Updates on the matter will, no doubt, be forthcoming soon from the new commissioner of the FDA after Gottlieb recently announced he would be stepping down.