FDA, NYSDOH plan strict limits on sale of flavored e-cigarettes

November 09, 2018 05:48 PM

ALBANY - The Food and Drug Administration continues to take steps to address what they call an epidemic of e-cigarette use in teens.

The administration is looking to ban the sale of flavored, cartridge based, e-cigarettes at tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country.

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The FDA is expected to announce those regulations next week. As a result, the popular e-cigarette company 'Juul' says it will stop selling most of its flavored pods in retail stores.

You will still be able to buy menthol and traditional tobacco Juul pods in stores, but local advocates against e-cig use say it's a step in the right direction.

Preliminary studies found just this year that use of e-cigarettes in high school aged kids is up 77 percent. In middle schooler aged kids, e-cig use is up 50 percent.

Cara Zampi is the Youth Coordinator for the Capital Region Tobacco Free Coalition.

"We know that we know at 81 percent of youths who have ever tried a product such as tobacco have said that they've started with a flavored product," Zampi said.

Zampi said the FDA's plan to ban the sale of flavored, cartridge based, e-cigarette products in convenience stores across the nation may help, because most of those products are bought in person.

"I was surprised the majority of them are purchasing them from a convenience store for example versus online," Zampi said. "So I think if the FDA were to address this and nip this in the bud, then that actually might help."

But without as many options in stores, could consumers be more encouraged to buy online?

Most e-cigarette websites, like Juul, do have an age verification tool. But it's nothing more than a pop-up asking users to agree that they are 21 or older.

The FDA regulation will likely impose age verification requirements for all e-cigarette products sold online.

Zampi said it's hard to know how the new regulations will influence buying patterns, but she's hopeful it will make a dent.

"With all the different education outreach combined in addition to these point of sale policies, we are hoping that it's going to over time make a difference," Zampi said.

Despite market uncertainty, Zampi said kids are curious about how these products will affect them in the long run.

"That is something that students want to know when I do presentations," Zampi said. "'Well, what happens if I use this for five years?' And you know I'm like, 'I'm sorry I can't answer that question. There's no longitudinal studies that have been done.'"

This week the New York State Department of Health announced plans to ban the sale and possession of flavored e-cigarette products. However, those plans were rescinded to allow for more legal review. They will be republished and could be adopted after a 60-day public comment period.


Emily Burkhard

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