Electronic cigarettes are the trend that refuses to die: statistics show that, particularly among teens, vaping is more popular than ever. Who among us has not had a Juul phase?
The only people who aren't climbing aboard the vape train are employees of the Food and Drug Administration. They've given Juul and other popular electronic cigarette manufacturers 60 days to prove their marketing materials aren't targeting teenagers, and failure to meet the deadline could spell the end of vaping culture as we know it.
As Bloomberg reports, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has lost his patience with electronic cigarette companies, saying they're not doing enough to stop children and teens from buying their products and getting hooked on nicotine for life.
"We're very serious about this," he said. "We're seeing both published and unpublished data showing an epidemic of use among youths of alternative nicotine delivery products, e-cigarettes. We are extremely concerned about this. And we're not going to permit it."
In order to keep their products on shelves, manufacturers like Juul must prove to the FDA that the supposed benefits of e-cigarettes (their ability to stop adults from smoking tobacco by providing a slightly more healthy alternative) outweigh the detriments (hooking an entire generation of teens on a highly addictive substance). Easier said than done, especially when in 2017 2.1 million middle and high school students admitted they were regular vapers.
The major argument against Juul is that they target teens by providing fun kid-friendly flavors, which, yeah. But the company has firmly denied this claim. "Our mission is to improve the lives of adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes," Juul said in a statement available to read on its official website.
"Appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch. By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, and we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission."