A market survey by a company that makes online verification software has come up with disturbing findings which reveal that teenagers can easily buy electronic cigarettes from online sellers. The Canadian company enlisted teens to purchase e-cigs online and a clear pattern emerged regarding how easy it was for those underage individuals to access these age-restricted products. Many of those teens even received their purchases at post offices without anyone asking them to verify their age. Teenagers are at a time in life when they are most likely to become addicted to nicotine if they are exposed to it. More effort therefore needs to be directed towards developing robust methods of regulating online sales of electronic cigarettes and tobacco products so that only those who are legally allowed to use those products can get access to them. It is no longer enough for website owners to ask visitors to click “yes” or “no” when asked about being above the minimum age limit.
The US Food and Drug Administration made an announcement about how they intend to regulate the tobacco industry in the coming years. That policy direction also encompasses other related products, such as electronic cigarettes. Experts have raised a number of concerns about that policy direction with respect to electronic cigarettes.
First, the planned extension of a deadline to submit applications for existing e-cigarette products to August 8th, 2022 only applies to the products that are already on the US market. This limits the sale of new products that could be better and less harmful. Secondly, the planned regulations are likely to make it very difficult for small firms to bring to the market innovations that can improve the e-cig industry. Thirdly, the view that flavors can lure kids into vaping has no scientific backing to it. It is therefore imperative that all concerned people voice their opinions on this matter when the FDA calls for contributions so that the resulting regulations don’t have unnecessary adverse effects on the e-cigarette industry that holds a lot of promise for people who want a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
A lot has been said about preventing adolescents from using e-cigarettes, but not much has been done to show why these young people are more prone to getting addicted to nicotine when they start vaping. The US Surgeon General has published a summary of the unique risks that adolescents face when they take up vaping. Of special interest is the fact that these young people form brain synapses (connections between brain cells) much faster than adults do. The adolescent is therefore more likely to become addicted much sooner than an adult who vapes at the same level and frequency as an adolescent.
The publication also delves into other risks that adolescents face once they take up vaping. Everyone with children should take this information seriously and find ways to dissuade his or her adolescent children from taking up the habit, until at least the age of 25 when brain development has peaked. Only then will that individual be protected from any adverse effects that could result from taking on the habit of using electronic cigarettes at such an early stage in one’s life.