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According to the Wall Street Journal, the FDA has cracked down its position on e-cigarette sales online. Retailers who violate the order prohibiting minors buying e-cigarettes will be fined up to $275 for every violation. Pursuant to this crack down, the FDA was responsible for sending several warning letters to over 24 websites and at least 28 online e-cigarette retail stores. The contents of the letter detailed the FDA’s new regulations pertaining to the sales or marketing to any minors as well as the penalties applicable should the websites not make amends within a 15 day time frame.
According to Mitch Zeller, the FDA Centre for Tobacco Products Director, “We’re helping protect the health of America’s youth by enforcing restrictions that make it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors – including e-cigarettes, e-liquids and cigars… It’s clear from these initial compliance checks that there’s a need for strong federal enforcement of these important youth access restrictions.”
It was however reported that none of those who violated the regulations were vape shops. Those who received warning letters from the FDA comprised of gas stations, drug stores and corner stores.
The release of warning letters comes less than a mere 6 weeks after the FDA had banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors pursuant to the finalization of its new regulations overlooking e-cigarettes, hookah and cigars back in May. Truth be told, many vape shops have been adamant about their position of not allowing minors to purchase e-cigarettes or any vaporizer-related products (even e-liquids) even before the FDA had banned the sale of e-cigs to minors.
Earlier this year, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) released a research which revealed that the current e-cigarette usage among high school kids had increased a shocking 900% in a matter of 4 years only (years 2011 to 2015). On the contrary, the sale of traditional tobacco smoking among American teenagers has seen a declination which bears the question whether the two are in fact related. Time and time again there have been arguments pushed forward stating that the increase of e-cigarette usage has in fact lowered the rates of traditional tobacco smoking. Even in the United Kingdom, the Health Department had acknowledged this correlation however in the United States, this isn’t seen to be the case with the FDA and CDC stating that e-cigarettes are as damaging to the health as tobacco cigarettes.
Taking a look from a marketing perspective, the e-cigarette market was established back in 2009 and has since grown into an amazing $3.5 billion market. The figures alone are evident of the popularity e-cigarettes have gained ever since its introduction which was only 7 years ago.
Health advocates have expressed concerns that American teens are the main advertisement targets of e-cigarettes with the trendy devices looking slick and “in fashion” with the flavors of e-liquids comprising of appealing flavors such as Cotton Candy, Bubble Gum and many other fruity combinations.
According to the FDA, research conducted by the department has shown scary numbers of vaping products containing high levels of carcinogens the likes of acetaldehye and formal.