The FDA Is Cracking Down on This Teen Epidemic

They are considering banning the sale of e-cigarettes online.

Use of e-cigarettes among adolescents has skyrocketed in recent years and there are serious concerns about the long-term effects on their health. According to a report published in the Washington Post, e-cigarette use among high school students jumped by 75 percent between 2017 and 2018. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb publicly stated, “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous – and dangerous – trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.” The FDA is requesting the manufacturers to respond with robust plans for how they intend to address the widespread use of their products by minors. Gottlieb suggests that the brands will likely have to revise their sales and marketing practices to ensure their products stop falling into the hands of teens. If the requirements are not met, the FDA threatens to place bans on flavored e-cigarette liquids because the fruity and candy flavors appeal most to young children and teens. The flavoring in traditional cigarettes was banned in the United States in 2009 for the same exact reason.

The growing use of tobacco products in young adults is particularly troubling because of how nicotine interacts with their developing brains. Researchers have found that nicotine use among adolescents can enhance the rewarding effects of other drugs, especially cocaine, and produces profound long-term changes in the brain. Francis Leslie, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California Irvine, states, “I’ve been very concerned that were actually using this generation of teenagers as guinea pigs to see what the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are on their brains and their behaviors.” There is a growing sense of worry about the potential widespread health effects of these e-cigarette products.


Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for The American Lung Association, reports to Healthline, “The American Lung Association strongly agrees that this is an epidemic; that this has reached epidemic levels, and this is a fear that the Lung Association has had for a number of years, which heretofore has unfortunately fallen on deaf ears.” The American Heart Association and American Medical Association have also commented about the deep concern about the epidemic and the need to raise awareness of the harmful nature of these products to prevent another generation of Americans from developing a nicotine addiction. The FDA has since announced that this is the largest-ever coordinated initiative against violative sales in their history.

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