Youth Va­p­ing

FDA crack­ing down on e-cig­a­rette use by teenagers

Texarkana Gazette - - OPINION -

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.

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