Over the past few months as we've seen the Food and Drug Administration went from seemingly passively inquiring eLiquids and vaping to straight up declaring teen vaping an epidemic. What we've been watching unfold is this drama bomb in the public sphere of a battle that is either very pro-vape or incredibly anti-vape.
If you recall, the FDA had the top five vaping companies provide them with what they considered to be “robust plans on how they’ll convincingly address the widespread use of their products by minors.” The FDA has also proposed a list of harsh regulations, up to and including banning flavors, banning convenience stores from selling anything vape related, and requiring more than currently implemented age-verification for online e-cigarette sales and delivery.
Everyone that is calling for more regulation of the vape world seem to have overlooked that the market already correctly responded and has regulated well before recent FDA meddling. In 2014, 80% of states had already banned sales to minors. The FDA then played catch up in 2016 and passed similar regulation. However according to the numbers, the rate of underage vape use has increased since 2016, proving previous regulations did not impact teen vaping numbers and actually made the issue worse. Again looking at the numbers, teen vaping rates were actually lower when states determined vaping laws.
Let's make a direct comparison to the FDA’s attempts to mitigate the obesity epidemic, which they began in 2004, the FDA's anti-obesity campaign included requiring more detailed nutritional labeling and allowing lower calorie foods less regulation to make and advertise health claims. Well it's 2019 now and unfortunately obesity rates have increased considerably, and a consistently growing number of consumers feel tricked or confused by nutritional labels these days.
We can learn a powerful lesson from history when it comes to giving any government agency more regulatory power, specifically when we consider the FDA’s past of gaining more power while simultaneously failing to achieve its objectives. Specifying everything an epidemic might be a tactic to also grow weary of.
While all of this speculation remains up in the air, all we can do is reach out to our representatives on the state and federal level and make our voices heard. In the meantime the industry will continue to self regulate and abide by state and local laws.