By Julie Cullen, Managing Editor, American Nurse Today
I read an article in the New York Times the other day that says that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared teen use of electronic cigarettes to be at “epidemic proportions.” That sounds incredibly alarming, right? But it seems that the FDA is serious. In fact, it sent warning letters to over 1,000 retail stores and issued over 100 fines for selling e-cigarettes to underage teens (Federal law prohibits selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18). The agency also told e-cigarette manufacturers that if they didn’t stop marketing to minors that their flavored products will be pulled from the market.
The FDA is also targeting their message to teens with the launch of its “The Real Cost” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase teen awareness of e-cigarette hazards. The campaign’s website has a slightly creepy design that I imagine is intended to scare teens. It includes quick facts, videos, and games to help engage the user. What I like best about this site is its focus on pointing out that users may think vaping is safer than smoking but that it has many real dangers that can affect immediate and long-term health.
FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says that he believes e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems can be effective options for adults who want to stop smoking, but that teen vaping is a concern because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction.