While addressing the American Society of Clinical Oncology last Summer,Commissioner Scott Gottlieb blamed e-cigarette companies for teen vaping. “They better step up and step up soon – to address these trends along with us. So far, I must say, I’ve mostly been disappointed by the tepid response from companies that know that a meaningful portion of their sales are being derived from kids. The e-cig companies have a chance to do something about it. The window is open. But it won’t be open for very long.” he said.
Subsequently last month, the agency issued more than a 1,000 warning letters to U.S. retailers and manufacturers of e-cigarettes, amongst which Juul, in what the agency called “the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history.”
In the letters, the agency demanded that these companies present proof that they can keep the nicotine-containing products out of the hands of minors, within 60 days. Should they fail to do so, the FDA may ban candy-like flavors, such as bubble gum and crème brûlée, that may be particularly appealing to this age group.
The unsound ‘Gateway Theory’ is still informing policy
In the meantime, in New York State, a bill proposing to ban flavoured e-liquids is gaining momentum in the Legislature. “We are concerned about this. There’s a lot of marketing to children of this and we need to tackle it,” said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker about the perceived influence of flavoured e-liquids on teen vaping.
“Vaping e-cigarettes is definitely a gateway to smoking real cigarettes,” stated inaccurately Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan). “We have to take concrete steps to stop young people from getting hooked on e-cigarettes,” she added, whilst pointing out that Gov. Cuomo has signed her other bills that ban vaping in public spaces.
In the meantime, while Rosenthal is still making inaccurate claims about vaping leading to smoking, science keeps disproving the theory. “The gateway theory is not compatible with either (1) the decrease in smoking prevalence observed in adolescents in countries where vaping increased or (2) an increase in smoking among teenagers after age restrictions were imposed on e-cigarette purchases.” said researcher Jean-François Etter, from the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, Switzerland last year.
Read Further: New York Post