FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced earlier this week that another 21 companies must submit reports on what they’re doing to curtail teenage vaping
It’s no surprise to the majority of people in the vaping community that e-cigarettes are woefully misunderstood. In fact, polls have shown that only around 13% of people understand that vaping is approximately 95% safer than smoking, while twice as many believe they’re just as bad if not worse. At this point, most vapers are used to the stigma that goes along with e-cigarettes, but the FDA isn’t letting up on the harm reduction and smoking cessation tools.
While doing very little to further the fight against actual tobacco, the FDA has continued to make it more difficult for former smokers who have successfully switched to vaping. From ever-increasing taxes and encroaching bans, to simply equating vaping with smoking, the FDA has done nothing to utilize the many benefits of e-cigarettes properly. Making matters worse, they just notified an additional 21 vaping companies they only have 30 days to submit a report about what they’re doing to prevent kids from using their devices.
How We Got Here
It was the beginning of September when FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, laid out the administration’s plan to limit teenage vaping. Part of this push included sending over 1,300 warning letters to retailers about the hefty fines they’d face if caught selling vaping products to minors. But likely the most significant portion of their announcement last month was their requirement of five large vaping companies to create and submit a report regarding what steps they’re taking to limit teenage vaping.
The five companies in question were Juul Labs, Blu, MarkTen XL, Vuse, and Logic. Each was required to prove that their marketing is in no way targeting minors, as well as indicating what their plans are moving forward to limit teenage usage. Each company was given 60 days to file their reports, which has been likely harder for some than others. Juul Labs, for example, has spent a large portion of 2018 spending money to improve the public perception of their brand, as well as going above and beyond what’s required to help parents and teachers limit teen exposure to their products.
The Latest Development
That brings us to earlier this week when Dr. Gottlieb and the FDA once again are calling on more vaping companies to prove they’re not targeting children. This time the list is a bit longer, with a full 21 companies required to submit a report, although these companies are much smaller in comparison. Just like with the larger companies, these additional 21 brands must prove that their marketing techniques are in no way targeting teens. The smaller companies, which includes names like Kandypens Inc, VGOD, and VMR Products, have only been given half the time of the larger companies, likely done to line up the deadlines for both sets of companies. Given how the facts are lining up, it seems unlikely that the FDA will add any more names to this list. But what comes after the deadline is currently anyone’s guess.
While it’s understandable why so many are worried about the chances that vaping will inevitably attract teens into smoking, given the visual similarities between the two, the evidence backing up this stance is anecdotal at best. The large scale and reputable research we have clearly indicates that not only is vaping one of the best harm reduction and smoking cessation tools we have but the “gateway theory” is hardly prevalent. A study of over 60,000 students aged 11-16 indicated that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens are ever picking up vaping full time. Meaning that a lot fewer are ever ending up full-blown smokers thanks to the presence of vaping.
So while the evidence clearly indicates most non-smoking teens don’t care about vaping, federal health agencies continue to “save” the children by condemning adult smokers. After all, one of the main reasons for the poor public perception of vaping is the continued insistence of institutions like the FDA that vaping and smoking are very similar. So instead of making a quit attempt with something proven 95% safer, many smokers believe vaping is basically just as bad for you, so why even bother? The bottom line is that if we want to live in a world that’s rid of smoking once and for all, we must be utilizing our best tools, not actively undermining them.
Do you think the FDA is overstepping their bounds with these required reports? Do you think that if the FDA supported vaping that a lot more people would be willing to use them? What’s the best way we can improve the public perception of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.