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FDA To Ban Flavored E-Cigs

By: Nicholas King.
Last Updated: November 20th, 2018.

The FDA has just announced their plan to ban flavored E-Cigarettes including e-liquids except for nicotine, mint and menthol flavors in a statement by Scott Gottlieb M.D.

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But this does not mean adults cannot still purchase them as the restrictions are only going to be implemented where physical location allows the traffic of children. This means that any dedicated vape shop, or section of a shop that restricts access to adults only, can still sell the flavored options.

Additionally, vapers can still purchase online, as long as these online-shops show that they are selling to adults through heightened age verification transactions.

We are going to look at why the call for this new regulation and what vendors and customers should know.

The Real Cost Campaign from the FDA

Why The Change

The FDA and many health groups are growing concerned with the rapid popularity of the use of e-cigarettes to minors (those aged 18 and under). The concern stems from the belief that e-cigarettes are likely to become a gateway to traditional cigarettes, and will, in effect, reverse all the work the FDA has been working on to cut the growth of nicotine addiction within the United States.

The FDA are particularly concerned with the age of which smokers start smoking. The CDC stated that "Nearly 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers first tried smoking by age 18, and 98% first tried smoking by age 26". Additionally, another study from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey showed a 78% rise in the use of e-cigarettes amongst high school students. With this in mind, it became paramount to avoid the attraction of smoking to children and over the years the FDA has implemented many campaigns like the "The Real Cost" project to tackle underage smoking.

Gateway from vaping to smoking

The Gateway To Smoking

Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., Shannon Watkins, and Ben Chaffee, released a study that found users who tried ENDs (electronic nicotine delivery systems) were more likely to and at great risk on initiating in traditional cigarette smoking within 1 year.

Although the study had many critics, and counter-arguments, such as judging the personality of a user is not a scientific reason that ENDs help the increase of traditional young smokers, it still remains a concern, specifically for the FDA.


Is The FDA Right In Their Decision

SmokeTastic fundamentally agrees with the new regulations in banning the attraction of e-cigarettes to youths and believe that the initial steps are accountable. Although a lot more can be done to further restrict access to children, which we explore later, it is a sensible move.

Many vaping manufacturers may disagree, and argue that they will only attract more smokers, the fact is that the growth of e-cigarettes amongst children needs to be addressed urgently.

The FDA recognized that the use of ENDs, which include e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative to smoking. They also agree on the benefits of Americans switching from traditional smoking to vaping to reduce their nicotine consumption and deliver nicotine in a safer way. Their only concern is that e-cigarettes are potentially a gateway to smoking, and with evidence to show that 90% of smokers started before they were 18, their concerns are with children being drawn into vaping.

Children smoking after vaping

Summary of What The FDA Are Changing

The FDA is initiating the ban of flavored e-liquids and e-cigarettes (except nicotine, mint, and menthol) in all areas where children have access. This means convenience stores, gas station, and grocery outlets.

Any location selling flavored e-cigs must demonstrate that their location, or section within a store is prohibited to children below the age of 18.

The sale of these flavored options will still be available online, but with heightened security to ensure the sale is to an adult. The FDA will release some best practices in the feasible future to ensure this.


What Can The FDA do Further

This is not the final hand that the FDA will deal, they will continue to monitor the use of e-cigarettes to children and if the rise continues at similar levels will implement further actions and regulations. Likely to be implemented would be:
  • Ban the sale of all e-cigarette products from non-vape shops
  • Increase the ban of flavored e-cigs to vape shops and online
  • Impose strict naming and colors on e-liquid bottles and e-cig kits
  • Ban products that have a design, color, look and feel that may appeal to children
  • Impose a complete ban on the retail of e-cigarette devices without a prescription
What to do to help the change

What Can Manufacturers, Retailers and Consumers Do

If you are an independent vape shop, you need not worry too much about the new regulations. Make sure you promote that your shop is for adults only and make sure to check the ID before any sale of your products. The FDA found, that in general, vape shops were pretty good at policing the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

General store owners will now have to remove all flavored options from the shelves unless you provide an area within your store for adults only. This needs to be obvious and clearly labeled to prevent accidental trespass. Additionally, ID.s must be shown on all sales.

Online Store owners need to make sure their verification process is up to date. The FDA will be releasing guidelines and best practices on how to achieve this. But our advice would be to inherit age verification on entry to the site and within the checkout process.

Manufacturers have been warned a number of times from the FDA to show evidence that they are not marketing to the younger generation. Although this is specifically with marketing manufacturers can take further steps to help this enforcement. Some suggest the use of plain packaging and plain labeling of flavors will help detract children. The naming of flavoring needs to be addressed and aimed specifically to adults.

Consumers who are of legal age can still purchase flavored e-cigarettes and e-liquids, although you will have to go to specialized vape shops or shop online. Those who are concerned with their e-cigarettes should also report their problem to the FDA, specifically if you have concerns about the health and safety of your device. The Safety Reporting Portal is where you can report problems such as bad burning taste, battery explosions or any other problem or concern.

Nicholas King
Nicholas King

Hi! I’m Nicholas King, the founder, and Chief Editor at SmokeTastic. As an ex-smoker and now vaping enthusiast for over 13 years myself, I understand the transition between smoking and vaping. My aim is to share useful information about all the different vape and e-cig products on the market, self-help tips, and detailed reviews.

I hope you find something on SmokeTastic that helps you with your decision process.

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