The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a renewed effort to hold retailers accountable for selling e-cigarettes to children and teenagers as part of its campaign against youth vaping. According to a news report on Time.com, e-cigarettes are not legally available to anyone under the age of 18 in the United States. Still, use of these devices by youth is widely prevalent nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 37 percent of high school seniors say they had vaped in 2018. Vaping among teens has been referred to as an epidemic by public health officials who point to risks such as nicotine addiction and later use of tobacco products including cigarettes. The FDA has worked actively over the last year or so to keep e-cigs out of kids’ hands mostly by targeting manufacturers such as Juul and retailers who fail to follow the law.
Curbing Youth Use is Important
In the most recent announcement, Walgreens has been singled out as the biggest offender among pharmacy chains that sell tobacco products with 22 percent of its inspected stores found to be selling tobacco products to those under 18. The FDA has requested a meeting with Walgreen’s corporate management to talk about systemic issues that could be leading to a high rate of violations. The FDA’s statement also names 14 other national retailers with widespread issues regarding sales to minors.
The agency found violations in up to 44 percent of inspected locations at six gas chains including Marathon, Exxon, Sunoco, BP, Citgo and Mobil. Other large national retailers including Kroger and Wal-Mart were also named and their violation rates were between 15 and 24 percent of inspected stores. In November, the FDA announced restrictions on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, which are believed to be appealing to kids and teens. The FDA has also stated that it is common for retailers to ignore the law and then pay fines viewing it as simply the “cost of doing business.”
Holding E-Cig Manufacturers Accountable
In addition, the FDA has attempted to curb youth e-cig use by issuing warning letters to Juul and other manufacturers that make products that are popular among youth. Juul announced in November that it would stop selling flavored pods in stores and suspended its marketing efforts including its Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Our product defect attorneys are deeply concerned about the sale of these dangerous and potentially defective products to vulnerable youth. Not only have studies shown that e-cigarettes could cause serious health issues such as lung damage, but have also caused severe injuries by exploding in people’s pockets or while in use. It is time that the government steps in to regulate the companies that manufacture these products and do more to protect vulnerable youth from the adverse effects of e-cigarettes.