FDA crackdown on e-cig companies is a good thing


Kernel Opinion SIG

Kelsie Kennedy

Earlier in September, the F.D.A. announced that E-cigarette companies have “60 days to prove their products can successfully be kept away from minors.”

If they cannot prove so, they will begin to be fined. E-cigs began as a method for people to quit smoking, offering a decreasing amount of nicotine in their products.  However, teenagers started buying these products online because few sellers require an age verification. This led to an increased amount of nicotine in the e-cigarettes.

Sixty days may not seem like a long enough time to change their marketing, but the F.D.A. should be even harsher with these e-cigarette companies in order to protect the public, particularly young people who may not understand the health concerns.     

Hayden Steinemann, a UK freshman civil engineering major said that he “thinks that e-cigs are less dangerous than cigarettes because there are a lot less chemicals, but the nicotine in them is just as addictive.”

Some studies also show that nicotine causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, makes changes to the brain and “impair[s] prefrontal brain development in adolescents, leading to attention deficit disorder and poor impulse control.

It is the responsibility of industries to educate the public of the health risks involved in using their products. Juul and other e-cigarette companies have not done this. Not only have they not put in this minimal effort, they have also been under investigation by the F.D.A. for potentially marketing to minors

Advertisements are largely seen on social media platforms, which are frequented most by America’s youth.  A study saw that many online-purchased e-cigarette products come included with candy, stickers and other small items meant to draw in the interest of a younger audience. The favors themselves, such as “cotton candy” and “birthday cake.” mimic favors of lip gloss intended for small children.

Science News for Students also reported that “North Carolina is one of the few [states] to require that online stores verify proof of age before selling vaping supplies.  Yet of the 98 attempted purchases [by minors hired by the government], the teens were able to get e-cigs delivered to their home 75 times.” This is a problem. 

E-cigarette companies need to be held to the same standard as tobacco companies to educate the public of the dangers of their products. At 22, I saw my peers adamantly turn away from cigarettes. Anyone who lit up was pressured to put it out. Now, only a few years later, I am in the severe minority to not own a Juul. It is the duty of these e-cig companies to re-reverse this trend. If the F.D.A. does not hold pressure on these companies to change, the public will see an epidemic of e-cigarette use beyond what it has already experienced.