Last week, the FDA announced plans to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18 years. The regulation would also ban free samples, require nicotine warning disclaimers, and ingredient labels.
E-Cigarettes were first introduced in the United States in the 1960s but have regained popularity in the past ten years. It is estimated by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that at least 1.8 million Americans have tried e-cigarettes or “vaping” as it is sometimes called. Of which, an astonishing 1 in 30 children within the age of 10 to 18 use these products currently, doubling the number of users since 2011. These products are attractive to young children due to the unique flavors and colors which are parts of the problem.
However, e-cigarette manufacturing companies argue that their products are aimed at current smokers as an alternative to cigarettes. In addition, they don’t exactly specify that their products can actually help you quit smoking, which would require stricter FDA regulations, as then it would be viewed as a drug product. At this time, the FDA regulations will still be allowing e-cigarette makers to sell their products in kid-friendly flavors and TV ads, as well as, sell the products through the internet.
The FDA announcement, also, comes at a time when poison control centers are reporting an influx of calls about people and children overusing or ingesting the liquid nicotine contained in the device.
In an article by NPR, Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated, “This action is long overdue, it is inexcusable that it has taken the FDA and the administration so long to act. This delay has had serious health consequences as these unregulated tobacco products have been marketed using tactics and sweet flavors that appeal to kids.”
There will be a 75-day public comment period before any FDA rules would be finalized. E-cigarette makers would also have two years to submit applications to allow their products to remain on the market.