Although the Trump administration passed a law that forbids the sale of flavored e-cigarette products in order to cut down on teenagers and children “vaping,” the law has a huge loophole that some teenagers are walking right through, The New York Times reports.
In the summer of 2019, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, hundreds if not thousands of teenagers and young adults across the country got sick, and some even died, after “vaping” — that is, using a machine that converts an oil into a vapor that users inhale.
The culprit behind the majority of those illnesses was later deemed to be counterfeit oil sold on the black market to consumers who thought they were purchasing marijuana cartridges, not nicotine cartridges.
Nevertheless, the vaping illnesses brought up the matter, about which pediatricians have been warning for some time, that many manufacturers sell nicotine cartridges with flavors such as cotton candy or watermelon. That brought about accusations that the products were effectively being marketed to children and teenagers.
In December, the Trump administration passed a series of regulations that, among other things, banned the sale of flavored nicotine oil products, the only exceptions being menthol and tobacco flavors, as well as raising the nationwide age to purchase tobacco products to 21.
However, as it turns out, there’s a major loophole in the law that teenagers are exploiting.
It seems that the law only forbids the sale of such cartridges that are not refillable and are attached to a machine, such as a Juul. Disposable, single-use flavored cartridges are excluded; a concession to the vaping industry and to adult consumers, says the NYT.
Lauren W. Williams, a teacher in Kentucky, says that students who previously got caught with Juuls are now getting caught with disposable cartridges.
“Students were telling me that everybody had gone to Puff Bars, which are disposable. The one we confiscated here this week is Banana Ice. Students are not using Juuls anymore because no one wants menthol or tobacco,” she says.
It’s not just Puff Bars. Other brands, such as blu, Posh and Stig, also offer flavored products.
What’s more, at about $7 to $10 per disposable bar, they’re actually cheaper than Juuls, says teenager Daniella Roth of California.
“For me it wasn’t about it being easier to get, it was more cost-effective. I’d have to save up $30 to buy a pack of Juul pods,” she says.
Whether or not the loophole is going to be closed anytime soon is unclear. However, at least 29 senators have sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking for the agency’s rationale on allowing flavored disposable tobacco products to continue to be sold.