As of August, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has the authority to regulate ENDS, or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. The ENDS grouping includes e-cigarettes, but also covers the following:
- Vape pens
- Nicotine gels
- Dissolvable tobacco (lozenges, strips, or sticks)
- Hookahs (water pipes) and other hookah products
- E-pipes and pipe tobacco
- Cigars and cigar products
- Any future electronic nicotine delivery systems not yet defined.
The 2016 regulations also extended the ban of selling tobacco products to those under 18 from cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to e-cigarettes and all the other ENDS products listed above.
Stats on ENDS
ENDS products are a growing industry in the U.S., and have been increasing at enormous multiples among the under-18 set. Between 2011 and 2015, the under-18 crowd who was partaking of ENDS products saw a 900 percent increase. During that time period, e-cigarette usage rose among all high schoolers from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. In other words, about one in six 14-to-17-year-olds were using ENDS products, mostly e-cigarettes.
Other ENDS usage statistics that might surprise you:
- Among middle schoolers, the increase was 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent. That’s 1 in 20 tweens using electronic-nicotine delivery systems.
- E-cigarettes were the most commonly-employed tobacco product by middle and high schoolers in 2015, as opposed to regular cigarettes.
- Over four-fifths (81 percent) of young e-cigarette users mentioned the appealing flavors available as the main reason they vaped.
Was the FDA Right to Regulate?
The FDA has been praised by medical associations for helping kids avoid what some see as a “gateway drug path” to nicotine addiction. Yet others believe that the FDA is wrong to focus on the lesser amount of harm done by the nicotine in e-cigarettes, insisting that regular cigarettes do much more damage. However, the FDA believes that the nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals. Also, e-cigarettes carry the risk of battery-related burns and maiming. A number of exploding battery cases has afflicted teens and young adults.
Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, noted that, “Companies were free to introduce any product they wanted, make any claim they wanted, and that is how we wound up with a 900 percent increase in high schoolers using e-cigarettes as well as all these reports of exploding e-cigarette batteries and products that have caused burns and fires and disfigurement.”
If the new regulations keep kids from becoming addicted, from being exposed to harmful chemicals, and from becoming victims of battery explosions and burns, it’s hard to argue that the FDA was wrong to finalize its newest rule regarding tobacco products.
The ENDS Result
According to the new regulations, those who sell ENDS products are required to check the photo ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 27 who tries to purchase tobacco products. Neither can sellers offer free samples to youth. Tobacco products in vending machines that are sold in locations where patrons are required to be 18 or older are exempt from ID checking.
Any tobacco products already on the market before February 16, 2009, are not subject to the new rules.
When life goes wrong, we fight for what’s right.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of a defective product or suffered a personal injury, especially one involving e-cigarettes, you may have legal recourse. At the Louthian Law Firm we have more than 40 years of experience helping injured South Carolinians seek justice, and we’re committed to ensuring that you get the legal representation you need. To speak with an experienced attorney today, call us at 1-803-454-1200, or fill out our confidential online form for a free initial consultation. The Louthian Law Firm: on the case, around the clock.