After being grilled by the Lawmakers on a House Appropriations subcommittee about excessive e-cig use amongst adolescents, earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Chief, said that the agency would be taking some enforcement steps in the coming weeks.
In line with this, yesterday Gottlieb released a statement announcing a series of new enforcement and regulatory steps. “First, we’re announcing that the FDA has been conducting a large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes – specifically JUUL products”, said Gottlieb.
The press release explained that the new blitz, which started on the 6th of April, has already revealed numerous violations of the law. In fact a total of 40 retailers have been cited for violations related to youth sales. The FDA Commissioner also emphasized that the agency is taking a closer look at JUUL, examining its appeal and ensuring that minors are not able to purchase it whether online or offline.
Regular e-cig use is rare amongst non-smoking youth
In the meantime, a recent study titled Frequency of Use and Smoking Status of U.S. Adolescent E-Cigarette Users in 2015, indicated that “E-cigarette use is more prevalent among ever and past 30-day smoking adolescents compared with never smoking adolescents. Frequent e-cigarette use is rare among never smoking adolescents.”
The research which was conducted by harm reduction and anti-smoking researchers amongst whom renowned Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, and Dr. Riccardo Polosa, is significant because it confirms what many public health experts have been pointing out. Warnings saying that vaping will make smoking popular again and that e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to smoking, are unfounded, as in fact cigarette consumption by teenagers has reached “historic lows”, and while teenagers may experiment with e-cigs just like they do with other substances, regular users tend to be replacing smoking.