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FDA fights teen vaping

Lily Marchetto, Staff Editor

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In a letter on Sept. 12, the FDA declared war on teen use of e-cigarettes. The FDA is specifically targeting companies that market to youth through misleading ads and, so far, over 1,100 stores that have been identified for illegally selling to minors.

The use of vaping products has become widespread in high schools across the country.

“I would say definitely more than 60 percent of students have at least tried it in high school or even have one,” senior Brandon Rodriguez said.

Although the FDA recognizes the value of e-cigarette products in combating tobacco-related illnesses and deaths for adults, teenage use is a major concern.

“The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the letter.

The FDA has proposed a variety of measures to combat teen vaping, starting by giving companies like JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen, blu eCigs, and Logic 60 days to develop a way to solve the issue among minors. The FDA particularly sees flavors as a major factor that attracts teens to e-cigarette products. They are considering taking steps to remove all flavored vaping products from the market.

Many high school students recognize the impact the removal of e-cigarettes or flavored products could have but are skeptical of actual action being taken.

I think it would impact high schoolers if every manufacturer wanted to shut it down,” senior Megan Waterston said. “But since it’s a great source of income, I don’t think there will be an effective shutdown of e-cigarette manufacturers.”

According to the letter, the FDA has been warning companies to stop the epidemic use of e-cigarettes among teens for over a year. However, Gottlieb found the companies’ responses to the warnings inadequate, which is why he is giving companies a deadline and proposing more drastic measures.

For now, the FDA is planning boots on the ground investigations, monitoring online sales and launching a national campaign to warn teens of the dangers of nicotine products.

“I think that if action doesn’t happen now it could be a lot more widespread, not just with high school students but with younger kids,” Rodriguez said.

With the future of teens in mind, the FDA is planning big changes. In a short time, these changes will begin to take place. Only then will it be known how much of an impact new policies may make on high school students.

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FDA fights teen vaping