Vaping: The FDA’s controversial crackdown
“The great final battle over your Juul has begun,” said Catie Keck in Gizmodo.com. Last week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb proposed new regulations for U.S. e-cigarette sales, a market that Juul dominates with 70 percent of all sales. Gottlieb says he isn’t targeting the nearly 11 million American adults who vape—many as a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes—but the 3.6 million teens caught up in the craze, partly because of the bubble gum, cotton candy, and gummy bear flavors vape makers introduced to entice them. The FDA proposals—now in a 30-day comment period—would segregate such teen-friendly products to adults-only smoke shops and age-restricted areas in general retailers (like the X-rated areas of old video rental stores). Gottlieb also said online retailers must tighten up their age-verification procedures and curb bulk sales—or risk FDA enforcement actions.
“These regulations are a start,” said Danielle Ramo in the San Francisco Chronicle, but “we need to go further to prevent Big Vaping from marketing and selling its products to kids.” In recent years, e-cigarettes flavored like candy have “torn to shreds” years of work convincing American youth that smoking is both unhealthy and gross. Vaping has made what “used to be uncool suddenly cool again.” Make no mistake: These products are a menace, hooking teens on nicotine, exposing them to carcinogens in vape fluid, and raising their risk of heart attacks and stroke. What the FDA really needs to do is “destroy the myth that vaping is safe,” ban vaping ads from social media, and raise the legal age for all nicotine products to 21.
But what about all the adults who rely on vaping as a smoking-cessation tool? asked Matt Mackowiak in The Washington Times. The new FDA regulations will drive flavored vape products out of the retail stores where most adults encounter or buy them and into “head shops” that many adults won’t like to visit. Thanks to vaping, said Derek Hunter in Townhall.com, I was able to quit a two-pack-a-day habit virtually overnight after years of trying “every gimmick on the market.” Now the FDA wants to make it “harder to get” the very thing that gave me—and surely “thousands, if not millions” of others—a way out. These new regulations need “to be killed so more people aren’t.” ■