The agency of the medicine in the United States (FDA, in its acronym in English) is willing to apply new restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes with flavors, to reduce their consumption among adolescents.
The latest figures are alarming. To begin to bring order to an unregulated industry, its sale at gas stations and convenience stores will be prohibited. And in those that are made online, it will be necessary to verify that the buyer is of legal age.
The limitations to the commercialization of these products based on nicotine will be detailed next week. Scott Gottlieb, head of the FDA, already warned two months ago that the agency was going to be very severe if the makers of flavored electronic cigarettes did not take concrete measures to prevent these devices from being purchased by minors. He spoke then that the use of vaporizers reached proportions that he described as “epidemic”.
The Democrat Andrew Cuomo, who has just been re-elected governor of New York for a third term, wants to go further and prepares to present a series of regulatory measures to prohibit the sale of flavored nicotine vaporizers. “We have to intervene in a forceful way to protect young people,” says Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. The objective is that this measure, already adopted in San Francisco, will enter into force next year.
The US Department of Health estimates, meanwhile, that more than two million high school students consume electronic cigarettes. The increasing popularity of these devices among teenagers worries authorities in Washington, to the point of having requested the development of several studies to determine the effect on the health of chemical compounds in aerosols.
“They are the by-product of tobacco most used by young people,” the government agency said in a statement published this week, which states that the use of these vaporizers grew by 75% among school-age children in just one year. In addition is that these devices are a gateway to the consumption of traditional tobacco, whose effects are even more harmful.
Gottlied insisted two months ago that he can not tolerate a new generation of young people addicted to nicotine. The restrictions prepared by the FDA will apply to flavored capsules like those sold under the Juul brand, which controls 70% of the market. The others investigated are Vuse, MarkTen, Blue E-cigs and Logic. In principle, open tank systems available in water supply stores will be excluded.
The problem, according to health authorities in the US, is that you have the idea that flavored electronic cigarettes are not harmful to health. They explain, however, that the user does not really know how much nicotine they are consuming. The new devices, they point out, are smaller and more efficient, allowing greater concentration. It is estimated that only in New York there are 700 establishments dedicated to vaporeo.
The FDA is contemplating in parallel ban the sale of menthol cigarettes, for its high addiction and its health risks. But this is a process that can take more time to impose and apply. If this step is finally taken, it will be a major setback for British American Tabacco, which markets the Newport brand. It is the most sold product by the multinational in the US. Menthol is also important for Altria.