One last hit

The FDA is cracking down on the sale of Juuls and other popular E-cigarette brands

By on May 2, 2018

Morgan Tencza | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a press release Tuesday, April 24 about its nationwide plan for regulation on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

This press report particularly targeted Juul Labs Inc., one of the most popular makers of these products.

The FDA began its course of action on e-cigarettes last month by imposing age-compliance checks with retailers across the country, according to the FDA press release by Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

This has led to them issuing 40 warning letters to stores such as 7-Eleven, Mobil Mart and smoke shops that sell e-cigarettes, specifically Juul products, to minors. The press release also included the FDA’s plan to work with eBay in order to keep Juul products from being purchased illegally online to those 21 and older in age.

“We’re thankful for eBay’s swift action to remove the listings and voluntarily implement new measures to prevent new listings from being posted to the web retailer’s site,” Gottlieb said in the press release.

Along with announcing its plan of action, the FDA also stated that the company has sent an official request for documents to Juul Labs Inc. These documents included the data related to the research and marketing of their product to young people as well as any research done on the health effects of their products.

The FDA requested to review any complaints made to the company by consumers, such as addiction or withdrawal symptoms. The San Francisco-based company responded to the FDA’s press release with a statement of their own.

“Juul Labs agrees with the FDA that illegal sales of our products to minors are unacceptable,” the statement read. “We already have in place programs to prevent and, if necessary, identify and act upon these violations at retail and online marketplaces, and we will announce additional measures in the coming days.”

This announcement by the FDA has come after years of the e-cigarette market skyrocketing in popularity among youth. E-cigarettes have grown into a $4 billion industry in the U.S., despite little information and research about long term effects.

These products have the capacity to deliver as much nicotine as a cigarette, but without as many carcinogens and toxins as a traditional cigarette, according to lung.org. The study also showed that each cartridge or “pod” has as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. The health impact of the vapor itself is still unclear, despite these products often being marketed as an alternative for adult cigarette smokers. However, the flavors of juice used in e-cigarettes, such as mango, mint, cool cucumber and creme brulee, often appeal to young people who aren’t addicted to smoking traditional cigarettes.

As for those at Quinnipiac, one student feels that the advertising and marketing of these products to the public can be deceitful.

“I feel like they’re falsely advertised because they’re often shown as a way for people to quit smoking when in reality they can be just as addictive as cigarettes,” freshman biology major Casey Kross said.

The FDA also addressed the health risks of young people using nicotine products in its press release.

“The nicotine in these products can rewire an adolescent’s brain, leading to years of addiction,” Gottlieb said in the press release. “For this reason, the FDA must – and will – move quickly to reverse these disturbing trends, and, in particular, address the surging youth uptake of Juul and other products.”

Another student believes that e-cigarettes can be beneficial when used correctly.

“I think with college students, they are kind of abusing them and doing it to be cool,” freshman accounting major Katie Kelly said. “People who are trying to quit [smoking] cigarettes should use Juuls, and that’s a good alternative for them. It’s like a nicotine patch. It’s not meant for recreational use, it’s meant for addicts.”

The FDA’s press release also spoke about how “wildly popular” electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are becoming with teens. Sophomore finance major Zach Cyran doesn’t believe the trend is as big on Quinnipiac campus.

“I remember in the beginning of the spring semester a lot of people were abandoning their Juuls,” Cyran said. “You saw it on QU Barstool. People were smacking their Juuls, and talking about 2018 resolutions. I don’t mind them, people can do what they want.”

The FDA will continue to stand by these upcoming regulations to prevent minors from getting a hold of nicotine products, according to the press release.

“We must recognize that more needs to be done. As we’ve said before, there is no acceptable number of children using tobacco products,” Golttlieb said. “We share the belief that these products should never be marketed to, sold to, or used by kids–and we need to make every effort to prevent kids from getting hooked on nicotine.”

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About Alexis Guerra

Associate Arts and Life Editor