BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps toward addressing what they are calling an “epidemic” in the vaping community, the use of e-cigarettes among teenagers.
“The FDA has basically come out and highlighted what we’ve been saying all along, that products that contain nicotine are considered to be tobacco,” said Tonia Moore, director of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living.
Moore says much like the traditional cigarette, due to the presence of nicotine, e-cigarettes are also additive, but it’s the flavored products that are also part of the problem. “The companies know exactly what they’re doing,” Moore said. “They’re addicting their new users. We want to make sure that youth, teens, and adults are aware that these products are not safe.”
In a press release Wednesday, the FDA claimed several e-cigarette companies illegally sold their products to minors. In an effort to crack down, the FDA says the top five selling brands, like MarkTen XL, JUUL, Vuse, Logic, and blue e-cigs must submit a plan on how they will address the widespread access to youth and if they can’t, the FDA could choose to remove them from shelves until they meet certain obligations. The federal agency says those companies make up more than 97 percent of the current market.
Kegan Marcelle, manager of The House of Ohm Vapor Shop in Baton Rouge, says that’s not the answer. “Smoking is not going to go away,” he said. “The bigger issue is having these products available for people who are smokers, to be able to get off smoking.” Marcelle says flavored e-cigarettes have helped customers quit smoking. The shop has a wall of certificates dedicated to demonstrating what flavor customers have used to quit.
“Most adults don’t use the tobacco flavor or just the menthol flavored,” Marchelle said. “It’s usually some sort of fruit flavor.” He says the flavor helps smokers get away from tobacco. “If we’re vaping and we’re only using tobacco flavors, we’re still associating it will tobacco and that’s kind of the main goal of people quitting. They want to disassociate their selves from the tobacco use,” he said.
E-cigarette brands have 60 days to comply with the FDA.
“We don’t recommend that they use any type of electronic cigarette or combustible product as a type of method to help them quit,” Moore said. “That is absolutely not a best practice that we recommend.”