On Wednesday, September 12th, Scott Gottlieb, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, stated that youth vaping has become an “epidemic”. He said that his administration is planning on stopping e-cigarette manufacturers sales if they cannot prove that they’re putting the proper rules in place to keep their products out of the hands of children and teenagers. Youth vaping has become a “popular” thing to do in the past few years, with 1-in-10 high school students saying that they’ve vaped nicotine in the last year and 1-in-20 reporting that they vaped marijuana.
“It really started because everyone else was doing it,” said Adam DeLeon, a Sacramento teenager who formerly used devices such as “Juul’s” to vape nicotine. “I knew there was nicotine in it but didn’t think it would do any harm, I thought I could control it. Eventually, I got my own Juul and would use it every day, I found myself needing it a lot. I’m eighteen, I didn’t want to be addicted to something this early in my life, so I ended up throwing everything away.”
Peer pressure seems to be one of the biggest factors in youth vaping as almost 40 percent of students claimed that is why they began. Another 31 percent claimed they began because of the range of flavors available and 17.1 percent claimed that they thought that e-cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes. This is part of the reason why the FDA is ordering e-cigarette manufacturers such as Juul, Blu, Logic, MarkTen XL, and Vuse to give them “robust” plans to keep their products away from children and teenagers.
Gottlieb himself has said there’s no doubt that youth vaping is a problem in America. “Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing,” says Gottlieb, who is a physician. “We’re going to have to take action. No one can look at the data and say there’s no problem.” Many believe that it is good to see that the FDA is finally cracking down on the problem but we will still have to see what occurs in the near future.