The most popular e-cigarette manufacture in North America, Juul has chosen to pull all of their fruity flavours off of the shelves in the United States.
This move is being done pro-actively in the Trump administration policy that is expected to remove flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
Trump States “we can’t have our youth be so affected” and “people are dying with vaping” suggesting that a flavour ban would reduce deaths due to vaping.
The administration for Donald Trump stated they would remove all flavour pods, including mint and menthol flavours, and leave just tobacco flavours on the market.
To be clear – the preliminary evidence regarding people dying and being sick from vaping has not shown nicotine e-cigarettes as the likely culprit, but rather THC infused vape pens that are unregulated in the United States, with the exception of a few states that have legalized marijuana. Banning fruit flavored vaping products will not protect against recent vaping related deaths and sicknesses, as there has been no evidence to support that vaping nicotine e-liquid is causing this epidemic, and a great deal of evidence to support the theory it is THC vape pods causing it. Even if there were evidence to support nicotine e-cigarettes as causing sickness, allowing tobacco flavours in the market would keep the dangers in play.
Vaping illness and deaths and increases in youth vaping are two entirely separate problems that seem to be being lumped together by our media, our policy makers, and our government.
Juul Spokesman Austin Finan stated that Juul will “continue to review our policies and practices in advance of the FDA’s flavour guidance and have not made any final decisions… We are refraining from lobbying the administration on its draft flavour guidance and will fully support and comply with the final policy when effective”
In 2018, Tobacco company Altria purchased a 35% stake in Juul, at a suggested 12.8 billion dollars. Over the past several months the Juul company has been under fire in the media for allegedly miss-representing their products, and targeting youth in their promotions.
From my perspective, banning flavours outside of tobacco flavors will have little impact on youth vaping. Teenagers drink beer, and smoke cigarettes, both which taste pretty terrible to most people. They seem to be missing the point that teenage vaping use is a way to rebel against their parents, gain individuality and freedom, and has been going on in different forms since as long as we know.
Product Bans and prohibitions most often increase challenges as under ground and illegal unregulated vaping products will show their faces on the black market. This lack regulation could increase the risk of dangerous chemicals being used in their production. Just look at the recent case involving THC pods making people sick that is still ongoing in the United States.
What can be done?
No one wants an increase in youth and teenage use of vaping products. What we need is better and more strict regulations and penalties for businesses selling vaping products to minors, as well as better education for our youth. We talk with our children about alcohol, prescription drugs, and other forms of dangerous activity. When we discuss vaping, its dangers, and what is is designed for – current smokers looking for an alternative – it will go a long way to reduce this problem. In my opinion, bans and prohibitions will have little net positive effect.