FDA: Teen vaping is an epidemic; warnings issued to stores
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on vaping and e-cigarette policies. This week the agency called teenage vaping an epidemic. The agency issued warning letters and fines to companies illegally selling e-cigarette products to minors. The crackdown is the largest coordinated enforcement in the FDA's history.
The FDA issued 1,300 letters warning companies to stop selling e-cigarettes to teenagers. Twelve stores in the Tennessee Valley are on that list.
Chattanooga Vape Company is not on the FDA's list, but the store’s operating manager, Peyton Mayes, said the recent FDA crackdown affects his store's image. He said the problem comes from big-boxed stores.
“They are not going through those policies and procedures to make sure these devices aren't getting into the hands of teenagers,” Mayes said.
He said his employees are very strict on checking ID’s.
“Our policy is we ID anybody under the age of 35. If they appear under 35 we get an ID,” said Mayes.
The FDA reports more than 2-million middle school, high school and college students use the battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor.
“It will cause significant problems with them having addiction. Also very high probability of going to regular cigarettes,” said Dr. Susan Taylor, a Pulmonologist with Parkridge Medical Center.
Studies show kids have a higher risk of heart and other health issues when they begin using any nicotine product.
“Also cause problems with attention and learning in them as they continue to develop. The brain is not developed until the mid-twenties. When these young children are using this it can have significant permanent effects,” said Dr. Taylor.
The FDA will halt sales of flavored electronic cigarettes if the major manufacturers cannot prove they are doing enough to keep them out of the hands of children and teens.
“The flavors of some of these flavor liquids are marketed to them. Most adults aren't going to use gummy bear or cotton candy flavored liquids,” said Dr. Taylor.
These devices are relatively new to the market. There is no long-term studies about how they will affect your health.
Both doctors and vapers want to see positive change come from the FDA's initiative.
“Maybe if they aren't as tempting or prevalent they won't be tempted to use them,” said Dr. Taylor.
“Teens to not vape, or smoke, or dip, or have any of those options available. I think if we push more towards age verification at those locations where it is a problem like gas stations and convenience stores, you'll see that further decline,” said Mayes.
Click here for more information on the FDA’s warning and to see what stores in our area are on the list.