Flavors like moon juice, strawberry cloud, and freshly baked sugar cookie, which are sold at Stellar Vape in Atascadero, are the reason behind a new set of FDA restrictions on the vaping and e-cig industry.
The flavored juices are meant to pack a flavor punch, but the U.S. Food and Drug Association ruled that those flavors are hitting teen taste buds at an alarming rate.
Studies in the U.S. found that this year, 3 million high school students have reported using e-cigarettes. That’s up more than 75 percent from last year.
“These are proportions of use among our young people that are simply intolerable,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told reporters.
Under the new restrictions handed down by Gottlieb’s agency, stores with fruity e-cig juice for sale must physically wall them off from teens, those stores must also verify every customer is at least 18 and no e-cigs can no longer be sold at places like gas stations and grocery stores.
Stanton High, who sells these products at Stellar Vape in Atascadero, said not all vapes are created equal.
“This type of vaping to get people off cigarettes being lumped into people using it as a trend is a big problem for vaping because it actually takes away from the main purpose of it: saving lives and getting people off the deadly types of cigarettes.”
High blames Juul, a pocket-sized vape criticized for being attractive to teens.
The company is taking steps to block underage users, but High said the damage to the industry’s reputation has already been done.
“These things start coming out and it makes a bad name for vaping as a whole and it’s hard to battle that without being lumped in as a ‘hey you’re selling candy flavors to kids,'” High said. “That’s the farthest thing from the truth.”
High supports the new FDA guidelines but said he’s concerned the government will take the restrictions a step further and ban flavored juices altogehter. He said those flavors are what keep long-time tobacco users invested in e-cigs.
But the FDA said the idea that vaping is a healthy alternative is just smoke and mirrors.
The federal agency is also considering a ban on menthol cigarettes, which the tobacco industry said it would fight.