OPINION: The FDA's flavored e-cigarette half-ban will do nothing
We’ve all seen e-cigarette products before, even on campus. There’s so many different kinds – JUULs, Suorins, the classic box mods and other variations.
Let’s be real, almost everyone’s got a vape nowadays. Those that don't might use their friends’. And the trendy product isn't just used by those over 18, some users are high school or middle school students. I can imagine 16- and 17-year-olds getting their hands on a vape, but wow, I can’t imagine little 12- and 13-year-olds using one!
According to the Food and Drug Administration, between 2017 and 2018, “The total number of middle and high school students currently using e-cigarettes rose to 3.6 million — that’s 1.5 million more students using these products than the previous year.”
Due to the rise of underage vaping, the FDA officially announced their plan to limit the sale of flavored e-cigarette products. They also look to take away flavored cigars and menthol-flavored cigarettes to stop kids from getting hooked on any nicotine products.
But I’m thinking, why ban these products for the people who can legally enjoy it? How is banning these flavored e-cigarette products going to stop underage teens from vaping? And who's to say they won’t find a way to get their hands on their favorite e-cigarette products?
The FDA is allowing e-liquids, in any form, to stay in convenience stores and gas stations, but only tobacco, mint or menthol flavors, according to The Verge.
Yet the ban isn’t as harsh as everyone was anticipating; e-cigarette manufacturers will still be able to sell their other flavored products if there is an adequate age verification measure.
Stores like smoke shops will still be able to sell other flavored products if they don’t let underage customers in or if the products are placed where children cannot see them.
But it should be common sense for manufacturers and stores to not sell to minors, so it makes no sense to ban their sale in convenience stores and gas stations. These new FDA policies would also ban the sale of “new” flavored cigar products that hit the market between 2007 and 2016 until the manufactures apply for and receive FDA authorization.
So if they’re not going to completely ban flavored e-cigarettes products, why do it at all? The FDA’s overall goal is to try and keep kids from even getting started on cigars and nicotine, but in reality, there’s really no way to ensure that kids won’t be getting their hands on these products if there is not a complete ban.
If these products are still out there, there’s always going to be ways for underage consumers to obtain them — and that’s the hard truth. Because honestly, a half ban isn’t going to do anything.
Mikayla Balmaceda is a UA junior and is majoring in journalism and creative writing. Follow Mikayla on Twitter