Following a huge increase in vape use among teenagers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to impose restrictions in the sale of e-cigarettes throughout the United States.
According to a news report by the Washington Post, the action will potentially affect the industry that has grown “exponentially” over the years with little oversight by the government.
The report quoted a senior agency official and detailed that the Commissioner of FDA, Scott Gottlieb, is expected to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes which are freely available in tens of thousands of gas stations and convenience stores across the country.
Apart from flavored e-cigarettes, there are plans to ban menthol in regular cigarettes as well. According to the report, the decision hasn’t been taken suddenly, and the agency has been collecting comments from the public on such a prohibition. The move will likely receive severe backlash from the cigarette industry.
The expected decision to impose a ban on the sales of e-cigarettes was spurred after preliminary statistics by the government revealed that in 2018, the use of e-cigarettes has risen by 77 percent among high schoolers and close to 50 percent among middle schoolers, the report by the Washington Post said. The current statistics show that 3.5 million children across the country were vaping at the beginning of 2018, and above 1 million from 2017
According to the report, Gottlieb was previously a member of the board of a North Carolina vaping company and once favored the e-cigarette industry, had delayed some critical e-cigarette rules after assuming the office of commissioner in 2017.
Recently, however, he has said that his “first priority is protecting children from tobacco-related disease.” Shedding light on the vaping data, Gottlieb said during an interview before his final decision on e-cigarette policy that strict action will be taken to save the younger generation from nicotine addiction.
“We now have evidence that a new generation is being addicted to nicotine, and we can’t tolerate that.”
The federal government also said on Thursday, November 8, that cigarette smoking has reached the lowest level ever recorded among U.S. adults, and that the rate of smoking among young people has dropped even farther, per USA Today.
The data — provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — showed that about 14 percent of adults in the U.S. — or 34 million people –regularly smoked cigarettes or some days in the previous month, down from 15.5 percent in 2016. The stats further showed that “about 10 percent of people aged 18 to 24 years smoked cigarettes in 2017, down from 13 percent in 2016.”