FDA cracking down on e-cigarette use by teenagers
Smoking, once common across the U.S., is now down to less than 20 percent of the population.
Gone are the days when smoking was a rite of passage into adulthood. Thankfully, most young folks never pick up that first cigarette.
Others who did acquire the habit find ways to quit early on or later in life. One of the most popular these days is the electronic cigarette.
That’s all well and good. What isn’t is that many young people see “vaping” as safe. It’s become something of a fad among high-schoolers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that e-cigarette use is up 75 percent among high school students compared to last year. E-cigs may be safer than conventional tobacco products. But that doesn’t make them safe. Users are still getting nicotine. And they could still get hooked. Part of the reason teens are so attracted to vaping is the use of flavorings. Like soft drinks and other sugary products, vaping fluid comes in a wide variety of flavors that mask the harmful ingredients within. Critics say those flavorings deliberately target teenagers, a charge the industry denies.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced a crackdown Wednesday on retailers who knowingly sell vaping gear to those under age 18. And he put the onus on manufacturers to prove they can keep the devices out of kids’ hands. The top five makers—together controlling 97 percent of the U.S. market—will have to submit plans to do so or the FDA may take action to the ban the sale of their products.
We support the FDA in this. Adults can make their own choices about vaping or conventional tobacco use. Children should not have that choice—or access to such products.