Lax Federal Oversight Contributes To Teen Vaping


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Lax Federal Oversight Contributes To Teen Vaping

E-cigarettes, known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have taken the world by storm since their invention in 2003. It is estimated that there are close to 40 million vapers worldwide, and this number is expected to continue to rise. However, with such a large number of users, there is an increased risk of underage vaping, and this has become a major concern for countries worldwide.

Teen Vaping In Florida

A 2021 study by the CDC concluded that teen vaping in Florida was significantly associated with social media use, including the Chinese platform TikTok. Daily and even non-daily use of four different social media platforms were “associated with an increased relative risk of current vaping.” What’s even more alarming is that social media is now the go-to advertising platform for candy-flavored and brightly packaged ENDS like Elf Bar, a Chinese-made vape product that is obviously marketed towards our children.

Lax Federal Oversight

While the FDA has updated its policy to restrict cartridge-based ENDS products, it has inadvertently created a loophole for disposable e-cigarettes from China with flavors targeted at minors. China remains one of the largest producers of ENDS, and the lack of federal oversight has enabled these companies to grow and change their tactics for marketing towards our youth. Flavorful, colorful packaging has been proven to be marketed directly at children, but these products remain available and in circulation.

Last year, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf asked the Reagan-Udall Foundation to conduct an operational analysis of the Center for Tobacco Products’ (CTP) regulatory programs. The foundation found that CTP lacked clarity in its mission, its enforcement was slow and reactive, and it blurred the lines between science and policy.

We need stronger federal oversight to ensure that ENDS companies do not continue their insidious marketing tactics towards minors. If the FDA has failed to clear the market of illegal products, Congress should step in and demand action, as it is doing our children a massive disservice by allowing such companies to continue targeting them.

Congress Should Step In

The US House of Representatives should consider ramping up oversight over the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. If there is confusion about whether the agency even has a policy preference for removing illegal products from the market, Congress should demand action.

Conclusion

It is not too late for our government to act. We need to make sure that our children are not being targeted by ENDS companies. By stepping up federal oversight, we can ensure that underage vaping is minimized, and our children can grow up free from addiction.

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