FDA Approves Vape

Kris Lozano

It has only been a few years since vapes and e-cigarettes hit the market, and it wasn’t long after that we were already hearing about people suffering from lung and heart issues as a result. We were hearing reports of young people developing lung problems within only a few months of using an e-cigarette, and we started to see heart issues incredibly fast compared to people who smoked traditional cigarettes for years. Additionally, the research has shown time and time again that e-cigarettes can actually be more addictive than traditional cigarettes, especially for youth. Between all the flavors that are out there, to the huge amount of nicotine compacted in a tiny portion, to the continual use aspect of them, the tobacco industry has been quoted in saying that e-cigarettes are way more addictive than traditional cigarettes could ever dream to be. And yet, despite the mounting research out there, the FDA has just approved an e-cigarette for users to “quit smoking.”

Early in October 2021, the FDA has announced the approval of VUSE Solo e-cigarettes. This decision marks the first time the FDA has approved an e-cigarette for sale. The approval, however, does not extend to the flavored e-cigarettes that the company offers.

In its decision, the FDA said it was aware that 10% of high school students who used e-cigarettes said Vuse was their usual brand in the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

In 2019, federal data found that more than 1-in-4 high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, up from 11.7% just two years prior. By last year, that number fell to 19.6% of high school students amid greater regulatory scrutiny and the coronavirus pandemic.

“The agency takes these data very seriously and considered risks to youth when reviewing these products,” it said. However, it believes the data suggests that many teen e-cigarette users begin with products flavored like candy, fruit or mint.

“These data reinforce the FDA’s decision to authorize the tobacco-flavored products because these products are less appealing to youth and authorizing these products may be beneficial for adult combusted cigarette users,” it said.

The decision, however, is getting a lot of pushback from anti-tobacco groups and even ex-smokers. Many ex-smokers share sentiments that even if vaping is “less-deadly,” it is still harmful, and switching from one nicotine product to another isn’t necessarily the best way to quit. Additionally, young people have a tendency to try dangerous things like smoking or drinking regardless of the flavors, and giving the impression that a product is safe, with a stamp of approval like an FDA clearance, it can harm young people who could potentially face a lifetime of challenges and consequences of these highly-addictive products.

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