Up until August 2016, e-cigarettes and vaping products were not subjected to FDA regulations. Not only have the rules changed, but in September 2020, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has released new guidelines for the sale of vaping flavors. All stores and e-liquid manufacturers like Tasty Vapor would have to file FDA “premarket review” applications to prove that every single product they sell is beneficial for public health. The deadline? September 9th.
Most Stores Selling Vape Products Might Go Out of Business
Statistics show that there are around 13,000 stores across the US, selling an astonishing 400 million products that must now comply with FDA regulations. The alarming factor is that the organization admits that they may not be able to process the 2,000 applications they’ve received so far – within the review year. By August 31st, the agency has been able to review just 40% of the applications.
Although the FDA accepts bundled requests for approving vaping products, the cost for getting each flavor tested could be around $117,000 to $466,000. The complete FDA approval process includes scrutinizing science reviews, advertising programs, and safety testing. The agency also requires that a “Youth Action Prevention Plan” is added to each flavor. The result is that many small business owners and stores have opted to close since there is no way they can carry the costs.
The New FDA Regulations are Designed to Reduce Underage Vaping
Whether or not vaping is an effective nicotine replacement therapy option to help adults quit smoking is a subject still under debate. In any case, the new FDA rules have been instituted with the objective of making vape products inaccessible to teenagers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that in the year 2019 alone, close to 27.5% of high school students had been abusing vapes. The high incidence of lung injuries has pushed the authorities to take steps to enforce the ban on underage vaping that was placed early in 2020.
The Irony? Many Adults Have Gone Back to Conventional Smoking
The irony of the situation is that while many vape stores and businesses have closed down, cigarettes continue to be widely available. Many adults admit that they have taken up smoking again simply because there are no restrictions on purchasing and using conventional cigarettes.
Interestingly, during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, only essential services were allowed to operate, and since vaping products have the non-essential status, outlets had to remain closed. Cigarettes, however, continue to be sold out of convenience stores and gas stations. Considering that the ban on vaping products is designed to protect users from the dangers of nicotine addiction, chances are that restrictions might not have the desired results. Adult vapers might just end up switching out one habit for another.
Vaping Enthusiasts Might Turn to the Black Market
Many licensed stores that carry products from quality-conscious companies like Hyde vapes are closing down. However, sub-standard brands continue to be available in the black market. The FDA has identified Vitamin E acetate as the key harmful component in illegal e-juices, many of which are imported from locations like China. Various vape flavor manufacturers are responding to the results of the studies as they’re being released.
Top brands have eliminated harmful ingredients from their e-juices, even if that means producing only unflavored versions. They are now making only menthol, mint, and tobacco. This is why permitting licensed US-based brands and stores that follow FDA regulations for manufacturing and selling vaping products might be a more viable option.
Banning E-Liquid Flavors May Not Be the Solution
At Blackout Vapors, we understand the magnitude of the health risks for teenagers and minors. Like many of the dealers in the industry, we have strict policies against sales to users under the age of 21 years. Customers wishing to place orders with us must agree to go through the age verification process.
In place of banning products entirely and inadvertently encouraging black market and illegal brands, a wiser option could be to step up raising awareness against underage vaping. Regulating the industry, continuing research, and identifying and eliminating harmful ingredients might be a more practical method to resolve the issue.
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