The US authorities have decided to impose drastic restrictions on sales of electronic cigarettes to stem the “epidemic” among young people, attracted by this product in its flavored form.
The American Health Agency (FDA) announced on Thursday, November 15th, that it plans to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes on the Internet. These will, therefore, only be available in stores and won’t be accessible to minors. The FDA also intends to impose a sales ban on mentholated cigarettes and cigars, stressing that “menthol is used to mask the repulsive aspects of smoke that discourage a child from smoking.”
Before taking effect, these proposals must be subject to a public consultation period that should last until June, the FDA said. The number of “vapers” increased by 78% in American high schools from 2017 to 2018, and by 48% in middle schools, according to the latest data from a national survey.
The FDA Takes Action Against Electronic Cigarettes
“These figures shock my conscience,” reacted Scott Gottlieb, FDA official in a statement. “This increase in consumption must stop. And the guideline is: I will not let a generation of children become addicted to nicotine through electronic cigarettes,” he added.
The FDA has also increased controls on e-cigs composition.
“We will take all necessary measures to prevent these trends from continuing,” Scott Gottlieb stressed, adding the challenge is now to prevent today’s teenage vapers from becoming tomorrow’s adult smokers and then incurable patients. The FDA recalls that almost all adult smokers started when they were minors.
“Almost 90% of them started before the age of 18 and 95% before 21,” FDA stated. “Only 1% of cigarette smokers started at 26 years of age or older.” The agency also reminded that cigarettes are still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, killing about 480,000 Americans each year. In addition to those figures, approximately 16 million Americans suffer from tobacco-related diseases.