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Curbs on Teenage Vaping – How Effective is the Ban on E-Liquid Flavors?



Teenage vaping is a growing problem with more kids taking up the habit simply because they love the taste of the many different flavors. Licensed vendors operating online and brick-and-mortar stores remain compliant with regulations and verify age before selling vaping products. But the fact remains that kids do manage to get their hands on supplies.

The US Government Banned Vaping Products – Was that a Smart Move?

In 2019, the US government banned e-liquid flavors and their sales. The new directives required e-juice manufacturers and vendors to get FDA approval for their products before they could legally sell them. Each product would have to go through specialist lab testing and acquire certification to prove that it is a safe and effective solution to quit smoking.

With regulated products disappearing from the shelves, vaping enthusiasts turned to the black market to get their supplies. Proponents raised the alarm that sub-standard and dangerously toxic products were being sold in the market, a situation that could potentially result in more serious consequences and problems

Teenage Vaping is a Cause for Serious Concern

Scientists have been issuing warnings about the disastrous effects of vaping on teenage brains and bodies. Young people are more susceptible to nicotine damage that affects cognitive development and causes severe damage to lung tissues. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that by the end of September 2019, around 1300 instances of vaping-related lung disease had emerged. Reports from other health departments from across the country placed the numbers close to 1,650.

And, that’s not all. Almost 28% of high school students and 11% of teens in middle school admitted to have used or tried e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Juuling, as vaping is also called, is considered cool and trendy with more adolescents taking it up just to fit in with the happening crowd. Parents should also be aware that teenage lungs that are already damaged with vaping are at least seven times more vulnerable to the Coronavirus.

Raising Awareness About the Dangers of Vaping Seems to be Working

New statistics compiled in 2020 around a year down the line, show a marked drop in adolescent vaping. The ban on fruit, dessert, and candy flavors means that only tobacco and menthol flavors are now available in the market. In comparison to earlier figures, just 20% high school and 5% of middle school students have tried vaping. Nationwide surveys also show that the number of teenagers vaping has dropped from 5.4 million to 3.6 million kids.

The Problem is Far from Being Resolved

Although statistics show that fewer adolescents are vaping, the fact also remains that for the most of 2020, kids have been stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Experts are concerned that the supposed drop in numbers is actually a result of staying at home and not having access to supplies. Further, the official ban is only on pod-based devices like Juuls that most teenagers use.

Disposable e-cigs like Puff Bar and Hyde Color Plus continue to be available. Certified internet vendors (click here for more information) now require verified adult signatures for delivering products. But now that lockdowns have been lifted, teenagers might just switch to smoking or buying illegal bootleg products off the black market, which has the potential of turning into a far bigger problem.

THC, Marijuana, and Cannabinoids in Vaping Pods Are Causing Illnesses

Awareness programs warning kids about the downsides of vaping and their non-availability have been successful to a point. But yet another result of the ban is garage chemists who are experimenting with their own e-liquids. Pods containing THC, marijuana in liquid form, and cannabinoids mixed with unsuitable carriers are flooding the market. The most alarming factor is that these carriers are, no doubt, safe for cooking but they are not designed for inhaling.

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CDC officers are investigating black market pods and e-liquids containing vitamin E acetate that cannot vaporize at the low wattage of regular vaping mods and devices. This chemical compound is contained in soy, canola, and corn oils. The liquid enters the lungs and builds up as fluid around the air sacs triggering the body’s immune responses. Pneumonia and lung infections are making not just kids, but also adult vapers very sick.

Adult Smokers Trying to Quit Must Look at Other Cessation Tools

An interesting phenomenon that the law should take a closer look at is the fact that although vaping products are no longer available, cigarettes are. Even during the pandemic, convenience stores and gas stations stocking essential supplies continued to remain open and sell cigarettes. However, vaping stores were expected to remain closed.

Adult smokers trying to quit smoking by using nicotine replacement therapy tools had to revert to cigarettes. That raises the question – will kids resort to smoking because of the non-availability of vaping products?

Advertising Campaigns Targeting Teens Would Have to be Banned

Restrictions on selling vaping products to teens is no doubt essential as are awareness programs. But a critical area that needs to be explored is advertising and marketing directed specifically at school students. Young people are curious about vaping because of the ads they see on TV, billboards, the internet, and in retail stores. At least 58% of adolescents are enticed to try e-cigs by looking at ads in retail stores, while 44% have tried them to emulate people in TV campaigns.

Educating parents and adolescents about the dangers of teenage vaping is no doubt critical for public health and safety. And programs to prevent adolescents from vaping need to get more aggressive. In place of banning e-liquids entirely, exploring their downsides and eliminating harmful ingredients could be a more effective strategy. It should be remembered that licensed all-American manufacturers and vendors are likely to stay compliant with regulations designed to protect users. At the same time, it is also essential to let e-cigs be what they are – smoking cessation tools specifically for responsible adults.


I'm Nikos Alepidis, blogger at motivirus. I'm passioned for all things related to motivation & personal development. My goal is to help and inspire people to become better.

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