Authored by: Randi Sprintis
If you were alive and awake during the month of September, you probably noticed headlines mentioning something about the FDA and something about vaping. With an inundation of news and information, most people know there was a major development taking place, but many don’t really know what or why. Hopefully, this article will help clear a few things up. So, why did the FDA have a sudden focus on the vaping industry? In one word, teenagers. We all know that the FDA and other health organizations are always hyper-sensitive to anything that involves too many or too few teens. They are our most vulnerable group of citizens, so we do our best to protect them.
On September 12, 2018, Scott Gottlieb, the chief of the Food and Drug Administration released a statement which identified e-cigarettes as an “epidemic” in relation to teen use. Of course, neither the FDA nor the vaping industry took the use of this word lightly. In this comprehensive letter, the FDA chief stated that new federal data reflecting the numbers of teen vapers has increased significantly in a very short amount of time. Even though this federal data hasn’t been released yet, sources say that it reveals the number of high schoolers who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days increased by about 75 percent since 2017. In addition, a health report released in the New England Journal of Medicine shed some light on the possibility that vaping could be more dangerous than people think. It was clear that these reports and numbers sent the FDA on a disciplinary quest to curtail e-cigarettes in any way possible and as quickly as possible.
The main focus turned to e-cigarette flavors. Of course, many believe that flavors representing fruit or candy are primarily targeted towards youth. This might remind you of the old Camel cigarette ads that showcased the cartoon mascot, Joe Camel, who was potentially used to lure in youthful smokers. When health organizations realized that just as many children could identify Joe Camel’s connections to cigarettes as Mickey Mouse to the Disney logo, everyone had concerns. Adult products mistakenly advertising to teens isn’t a new problem. We’ve seen this issue resurface thousands of times throughout marketing history. In addition to e-cigarette flavors, the FDA called out Juul, the most popular vaping device used amongst teens. This discreet device has had an almost shocking market share, considering the fact that there are so many other devices available. Between the sudden rise in Juul’s sales and the cotton-candy, fruity, kid-loving flavors, the FDA knew where to direct their attention.
In conclusion, the vaping industry has been given the almost impossible task of creating products that ex-smokers love but teens will somehow ignore. The good news is, Scott Gottlieb made it clear that the vaping industry will not be going anywhere anytime soon. He stated that he’s fully committed to the production and growth of the e-cigarette. Gottlieb and the FDA support any kind of tobacco reduction and still would like adults to have full access to e-cigarettes. However, over the next year, consumers will most likely see anti-vaping campaigns targeting kids and teens. Even though they’ll be hoping to curb vaping with youth, it’s clear ex-smokers will still have an alternative available.
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