FDA Cracks Down on Vape Products; Experts Say More Action Needed

Alex Gonzalez | Public News Service
According to the Food and Drug Administration, more than 2.5 million high- and middle-school students currently use e-cigarettes, and almost 85% of them used flavored e-cigarettes. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced several actions in an effort to crack down on illegal, flavored, disposable vape products which are popular among kids and teenagers.

In one example, research indicates 51% of Arizona high school students have tried electronic vaping products, and that teens who do vape are nearly four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Jim Carroll, former director of National Drug Control Policy under President Donald Trump, said he is glad the current administration is taking steps to ban what he calls “dangerous products.”

“Specifically, what we are seeing is disposable vaping pens being shipped directly from China to the U.S., targeting our children,” he expressed. “These vaping pens contain dangerous contaminants, but what is really scary is we are also seeing them contain lethal fentanyl.”

Carroll said while the federal government banned flavored vaping products three years ago, a loophole in federal regulation has allowed millions of vaping pens to stay on shelves. He commended the FDA for having closed the loophole but is now calling on the administration to take what he calls “enforceable action.”

Carroll added these products are cause for concern because they come from an area of China that he said is known to be associated with the fentanyl trade, and added the United States government issued the alert, but claimed the administration now needs to be “motivating, funding and supporting,” law enforcement at the border to stop disposal vaping pens from entering the country. The marketing behind these products entice youth, he said.

“All sorts of crazy names and crazy graphics to really attract kids,” he warned. “You know, calling something watermelon and cotton candy is really designed to attract our children, who don’t understand the dangers.”

Carroll added it is telling that China, the country manufacturing the disposable, flavored vapes, has prohibited the sale of these products to the general public and said “aggressive enforcement” is the answer to save lives in the U.S.