FDA Calls Vaping an "Epidemic"
“I use the word epidemic with great care. E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous -- and dangerous -- trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we're seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It's simply not tolerable."
-Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner
Electronic cigarettes have become a deep concern across America due to the vast number of adolescents abusing them. Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, and Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, express how crucial it is to make sure that e-cigarettes do not become an on-ramp for children to become addicted to nicotine.
In recent years, the National Youth Tobacco Survey stated that the number of high-school-aged people using e-cigarettes rose by over 75 percent and an increase of 50% among middle-schoolers. Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause harm to the brain’s development, which continues to develop into young adulthood. E-cigarette users are more likely to move into smoking tobacco as well.
Alex Azar and Scott Gottlieb are planning to reduce nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to render them minimally or nonaddictive, to stop adolescents from becoming addicted, and creating other options for adults to receive nicotine to give adult smokers a safer substitute for cigarettes. A key marketing tool used by companies, such as JUUL, are the fun flavors offered in the electronic cigarettes.
The list of harmful chemicals in the “e-juice” contains includes formaldehyde, lead, diacetyl, and more. Diacetyl is a chemical that was used to create a butter-like flavor and other flavors to food products, including popcorn. The chemical was banned from being used due to high numbers of popcorn factory workers developing a lung disease, known as “popcorn lung.” Diacetyl, along with the other chemicals in e-juice is very dangerous to people who work with it and to consumers. Exposure to these chemicals can cause permanent, severe, and lethal diseases.