The FDA has proclaimed that there is a new epidemic sweeping the United States. While the vaping-public may not agree, the FDA has set it’s sights on electronic cigarette use amongst teenagers, and youth vaping in general. Instead of making the focus of their efforts on specific brands that have established themselves in the e-cig market by appealing to young adults and teens, the new target is the flavors that manufacturers offer in their cartridges, pods, and tanks.
According to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, “certain flavors (of e-cigarettes) are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these (e-cigarettes) products.” Additional comments made by Commissioner Gottlieb in a press release from September 12th include claims that youth use of electronic cigarettes has “reached an epidemic proportion.”
How FDA Comments Effect E-Cig Companies
The FDA has sent a letter to 5 manufacturers: Juul Labs, MarkTen, Vuse, blu, and Logic. In this letter, they are calling for drastic steps to be taken to display to the FDA how flavored products from these companies, arguably the largest in the space, will be kept away from minors. If the companies do not comply within 60 days, and do not show a goodwill effort in making products less available to underage users, they run the risk of being banned from the market.
Is a Flavor Ban Going to Help?
E-cigarettes were created to help adult smokers find an alternative to traditional tobacco products. This is a point that has been echoed by White Cloud, as well as other major e-cigarette companies, since e-cigarettes have become commercially available in the United States over a decade ago. Putting a ban on flavors unfairly places adult tobacco users in a precarious situation, where many have relied on flavored e-cigarettes to help them remove cigarettes from their lives.
Juul Stands in the Crosshairs
Over the last two years, the craze over Juuls has blown to epic proportions, and in turn, has brought this issue of flavors to the forefront of the FDA. Incredibly popular amongst college students, and also becoming the most commonly found e-cig device confiscated in high schools, Juul e-cigarettes delivery an alarmingly high dose of nicotine (5% NBV) through “pods” that carry flavors such as Fruit, Cucumber, and Mango. Dubbed “the iPhone of vaping”, using a Juul has become the “cool” item to own, and its popularity has trickled down to teenagers.
A Nicotine Strength Problem, Not a Flavor Problem
When manufacturers like Juul are able to mask a 5% NBV product with fruity flavors like Fruit or Mango, they are offering a nicotine volume that a 2-pack a day smoker would encounter. Here at White Cloud, we will only recommend our products in that strength to the heaviest of smokers looking to make the switch to vapor products. Even then, we encourage these customers to work their way down the scale in NBV, in hope that they’ll be able to wean off their addiction to nicotine to a level that they will eventually be able to “forget about.” As of recent, Juul has begun to offer two flavors, Virginia Tobacco and Mint in 3% NBV, which is more comparable to one pack a day of cigarettes; still an alarmingly high amount of nicotine for a young adult or teenage to be consuming.
What is White Cloud Doing to Combat Youth Vaping?
White Cloud’s online sales approach has placed us at the forefront of stopping underage sale. Our multi-step age verification process includes having each customer submit information that we then verify using Lexus Nexus before allowing the customer to place any orders. We hope that more electronic cigarette distributors will begin to take similar approaches to combat the sale of vapor products to underage teens.
What are your thoughts on the FDA taking aim at e-cigarette flavors? Would you stop vaping and go back to traditional tobacco products if your favorite flavor was no longer available for purchase? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!