The FDA crackdown on electronic cigarettes has officially begun. After so much talking and lots of hype, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put some bite into that bark. Their first targets are those selling electronic cigarettes to minors. The FDA sent out warning letters recently to 24 websites and 28 online e-cigarette retailers advising them to stop selling to underage individuals. Those who get caught selling to minors will face a $275 fine for each incident, and clearly the FDA means business here.
This comes less than six week after the FDA officially banned sales of electronic cigarettes to minors. That sure was quick, wasn’t it? In this particular case, we can’t really disagree with the FDA. In fact, we’ve been calling on the outlawing of minors buying ecigs for years now. So, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s also important to note that none of the businesses receiving these letters are vape shops. They’re all selling ecigarettes as just a part, even a minor part, of their overall business. They may be unaware, or just negligent. That doesn’t let them off the hook, but at least they aren’t example of businesses in our community breaking the law.
While it’s been shown that the link between teen vaping and teen smoking is completely baseless, there simply isn’t a reason to let minors try something with nicotine anyway. The only silver lining is, of course, if they are already smokers and are looking to make the switch. But the right course is still to prevent our youth from getting a hold of electronic cigarettes or tobacco cigarettes. On a whole, that should be the aim, right? We don’t want kids smoking or vaping if possible.
Should We Worry About The FDA?
Although we can get this out of the way by understanding that the FDA only went after those selling to minors, it does still bring up some questions. The FDA was quick to get after these violators, and it makes us wonder what would happen when other aspects of vaping bother them. If ecig flavors are on the chopping block, will they be just as fast to try and take them down? Will your local vape shop receive one of these warning letters to stop selling the blue raspberry eliquid you love so much? It’s certainly a possibility we can’t rule out, although no moves have been made yet to do so.
Again, we aren’t against this move to get folks to stop selling to minors. Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, is understandably firm with this issue. In a press statement about this move he said “We’re helping protect the health of America’s youth by enforcing restrictions that make it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors – including e-cigarettes, e-liquids and cigars.” He isn’t messing around here and maybe that’s okay for this issue. Zeller went on to claim that, “It’s clear from these initial compliance checks that there’s a need for strong federal enforcement of these important youth access restrictions.” I have to admit, that “strong federal enforcement” part riles me up a bit.
It’s not that we aren’t in favor of these moves. It’s just that it shows how much power the FDA has over us. With the stroke of a pen, they could make the lives of vapors a lot more difficult. This is a concern for vapers, and understandably so. Even though the electronic cigarette brands we recommend are very much on the law-abiding side of things, we wonder what will happen if things get worse. It’s natural to be concerned, even though there isn’t a lot we can or should do right now.
All we can do is keep a wary eye over how things are developing. The FDA may have been slow to finally put out and finalize a deeming rule over electronic cigarettes, but now that it’s out they aren’t wasting time in trying to enact it. This means we need to be on it. We need to be aware of where things may turn and we need to stand up for our rights. It’s far from doomsday, but it’s never too early to start preparing. The FDA has begun its crackdown, and we’ll always be at least a little concerned of what comes next.