E-liquids have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. They offer a lot of different flavors for users to enjoy their vaping experience. Probably the biggest reason why e-cigarettes and vaping devices have become so popular is that regular cigarette smokers have way more options in terms of flavors with e-liquids than they would have with regular cigarettes. However, while this allows addicts to slowly eliminate their nicotine addictions by switching to a safer alternative, there is still a lot of discussions centered on the distribution of these liquids to minors.
The problem here is that specialist fear that teens who start using e-cigarettes may soon develop a nicotine addiction and switch to regular cigarettes, which could lead to a host of more dangerous health concerns. To possibly anticipate this process, the FDA has just released a statement in which they propose to start regulating e-liquids distribution and get rid of e-liquid flavors in hopes of stopping minors from choosing to buy them and then using them as they enjoy the taste.
The problem is very complex which is why today we are going to be talking about the exact details of the FDA statement, the reasons why such a decision is being taken by the administration, what this will mean for the regular consumer and if there is any backlash for this initiative and why.
The FDA Statement was released just in the past couple of days, on March 13, 2019. The commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, thoroughly explained the reasons why new policies need to be set in store to regulate youth access to flavored tobacco products, in this particular case e-cigarettes and e-liquids.
The Food and Drug Administration wants to propose a stronger form of monitoring the nicotine delivery system products and the flavors that are now available for sale. Some studies indicate that this ability to access them easily may offer youths a subconscious choice to start using other nicotine products in the future, due to possible addiction to the nicotine in the flavored liquids available in retail and online e-cig stores.
The FDA is in favor of keeping mint, tobacco and menthol liquids still available for customers even under the new regulations but what manufacturer will have to do is apply for premarket applications by August 2021 to be still able to sell their products. The reason why this may come as a surprise for some is that the date is one year earlier than previous estimates.
One of the most significant reasons that the FDA is starting to take legitimate action against the multitude of e-liquids currently available on the market is due to youth health concerns. The problem here is that minors (people under 18) have access to purchasing these products, both in online shops and in e-cigarette retailers. What the FDA proposes is that e-cigarettes will now be off-limits to anyone that is under 18 as they would need to provide a valid ID to purchase e-cigs and e-liquids.
While numbers for middle school and high school teenagers who smoke regular cigarettes has seen a drop in recent statistics, this number is overshadowed by the significant rise in the number of both middle school and high school students who vape regularly. The fear here, as we have mentioned before, is that vaping can be a gateway to other nicotine products due to the addictive nature of this drug.
Previous threats issued by the FDA have seen little in curbing rates of e-cigarettes use in teens. Therefore, this new proposal not only wants to restrict the age of distribution to adulthood but also impose a series of strict rules in how stores can display e-cigarette products, something that we will now talk about.
First of all, this ‘crackdown’ on vaping will mean that general stores will have to reorganize their interiors to fit a separate section inside just for their e-cigarettes and e-flavors. Not a special section, but a whole separate room where access will be available only based on valid ID to certify the customer’s age.
The fact that the FDA treats certain flavors (mint, menthol, and tobacco) different than the rest by allowing them to be still marketed has rubbed some manufacturers the wrong way. This does mean that there is a certain form of discrimination in place. While the problem here is nicotine use and abuse and possible nicotine addiction in teens, one of the major issues to be discussed is the fact that there are wide varieties of e-liquids available on the market that do not have nicotine in them at all. That being said, they are a completely safe alternative that will not cause addiction or lead to substance abuse.
People on the other side of the fence, including members that are in favor of regulating e-liquids, argue that despite the fact that nicotine free e-liquids are seen as safe, users might always look for the new rush through vaping them, then opting for the nicotine version of the same flavor which goes back to the same issue that was discussed, creating a vicious cycle where neither side is entirely in the right.
Yes, there is a number of people who are wholly displeased by the FDA proposal. The first who want to take legal action and fight these space restrictions in court are retailer, gas station owners and convenience store owners as well. They state that the authority that the FDA is making use of is clear discrimination of the Tobacco Control Act which expresses the fact that no channel of distribution should be discriminated.
Vaping organizations and even conservative groups have come out with statements in which they express concern that this radical form of involvement is only a way for the government to reach and try to regulate more of the individual’s private life. Currently, there are no apparent health risks associated with vaping, meaning that regulation at this moment in time is overzealous at best.