While e-cigarettes are marketed as the cleaner alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, very little is known about the associated long-term effects. Health officials are concerned about the variety of chemicals and metal particles that are inhaled as a part of smoking e-cigarettes, or vaping.
And there seems to be a cause for concern. So far, over 1,000 lung injury cases have been reported in association with the use of e-cigarettes. In addition to that, there have been 26 confirmed deaths in 21 states.
This alarming trend has prompted states to start examining the regulations of e-cigarettes since the FDA has yet to put forth any strong regulations. Flavored e-cigarettes, in particular, are being targeted due to their appeal to a younger crowd.
So far, the youngest person to die from smoking e-cigarettes was 17 years old. However, official reports have stated that vaping is on the rise among middle school and high school students.
There have also been studies that have shown that young peoples’ mental and physical development can be impaired using nicotine and people who start vaping early in life are more likely to become regular cigarette smokers.
Officials cite concerns over the allure of e-cigarette flavors such as fruit loops and bubblegum, which are enticing and kid-friendly. There’s even unease over the appeal of mint and menthol flavors.
To address this, a growing number of cities and states have started banning the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, including San Francisco, Michigan and New York. There’s even talk at the federal level that President Trump’s administration is looking into ways to keep the products from teenagers.
While specifics vary from place to place, the bans cover both retail and online sales and are temporary measures until long-term regulations can be put into place. For now, the bans are overlooking mint and menthol flavors, which may help adult smokers make the transition from cigarettes to vaping as they try to quit.
There have also been concerns over the wording associated with vaping, such as “clear,” “safe” and “healthy.” Health officials feel that this marketing is misleading because of current health issues and the lack of information on the long-term effects.
Vaping advocates warn that outright bans will only work to increase the number of illegal sales of the products instead of decreasing the number of young smokers.
However, Juul Labs, one of the dominating businesses for e-cigarettes, agrees that measures need to be taken in order to reduce the number of young people who are taking up vaping.
In an effort to stand behind this, the company has voluntarily stopped selling most of their e-cigarette flavors in traditional stores. They are also enforcing strict age-verification standards.
Some official proposals have suggested removing sweet and fruity flavored e-cigarettes from stores that allow minors or do not have an adult-only section.
Whether or not these measures will prove to deter youth vaping or force them to find it through illegal routes remains to be seen, but change is coming one way or the other. As time goes on, it may be harder to find good e-cigarette merchant accounts for businesses that choose to sell the products.