FDA Considers Banning Online Vape Sales
The US government is considering banning the online sales of e-cigarettes, it has been revealed.
Head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Scott Gottlieb has admitted the shock move is one of the proposals "on the table" as part of its crackdown on teen vaping.
While speaking on a panel discussion on e-cigarettes hosted by US news website Axios on Tuesday, Gottlieb explained the FDA will reveal more about its future plans in November when they release new data on the use of e-cigarettes by minors.
The proposal has already been heavily criticized as a potential disaster to America's health with thousands of ex smokers having quit their deadly cigarette addiction thanks to vaping.
Gottlieb told the panel: “One of the things we’re looking at is whether or not we should change our regulations to address how these products are being sold, particularly how they’re being sold online.
“We have two problems – one with appeal – they are too appealing to kids and the other is access – they are too accessible to kids and we think the online portal is one of the reasons why they’re so accessible.”
He then admitted that, in the future, vape products could be treated like cigarettes, which are banned from online sales, and current vape websites could be shut down or restricted.
Gottlieb also revealed “new limits” on flavored e-cigarette products are also in the pipeline, since the range of candy and fruit vape flavors on the market is currently “too appealing” and “too accessible” to children.
The news comes just a few weeks after the FDA claimed there was a youth “epidemic” of vaping and has ordered five brands — Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, and Logic — to submit plans to address teen use of their products within 60 days.
It has also recently launched a hard-hitting campaign of online commercials and posters to be placed in thousands of high school bathrooms across America to try to put young people off vaping - which was slammed by academics and pro-health campaigners as “irresponsible” and potentially ineffective.
The news of a potential shutdown of selling vape products online by the US government agency – as well as a flavor ban - has also been hit with heavy criticism by health professionals, academics and vapers alike.
American Vaping Association's Gregory Conley told the Axios panel that enforcing bans on both flavors and sales could do huge damage to America’s public’s health, since vaping has helped over 4.5million ex smokers quit tobacco for good.
He explained: “I vape Tropical Twist, so it has some pineapple to it, so mostly I use fruits – the vast majority of adult vapers are using non tobacco flavors and it’s the non tobacco flavors that so many of ex smokers say: ‘That’s the reason why I was able to quit because once I'd had mango, once I'd had watermelon, a tobacco cigarette didn’t taste so good after a week or two.’
“No doubt flavors are a reason why people are drawn to the product but it’s not the only reason why youth use the product. When the government ask them: 'Why have you vaped?’, the number one and number two reasons are that: ‘It’s less harmful than smoking’ and ‘because it’s less harmful to those around me’.
“So ignoring the hurt – the grave damage – that this would do to adult smokers if there was a flavor ban tomorrow, if youth are using these products for nicotine, many will continue to use these products if there are flavors or not.”
He added: “Tobacco flavors are awful. You do not have harm reduction with these products. You can get rid of the whole category if you get rid of these products.”