Archive for vaping

The Rise of Disposable Vapes Among Teens

The rise of disposable vapes, especially among teenagers, has become a cause of concern for public health officials and lawmakers alike. While disposable vapes containing nicotine are illegal for sale to minors in many jurisdictions, their widespread availability raises questions about why it is still relatively easy for teens to access these products. Several factors contribute to this issue, and understanding them is crucial to addressing the problem effectively.

Online Marketplaces: One significant factor contributing to the ease of purchasing disposable vapes is the prevalence of online marketplaces. While regulations exist to prevent the sale of these products to minors, enforcing these laws on the vast expanse of the internet can be challenging. Some online sellers may not rigorously verify the age of their customers, allowing minors to make purchases without facing age restrictions.

Vape Shops: Although most vape shops are legally required to verify the age of customers before selling nicotine-containing products, not all establishments adhere to these regulations strictly. The lack of enforcement and varying degrees of compliance with age verification can lead to underage access to disposable vapes.

Lack of Strict Regulations: The regulations surrounding disposable vapes can vary significantly from one region to another. In some areas, there may be a lack of strict enforcement or loopholes that make it easier for teens to access these products. The inconsistent application of laws can lead to gaps in underage prevention efforts.

Unauthorized Retailers: Some unauthorized retailers may sell disposable vapes without adhering to age verification requirements or regulations. These unregulated sellers may not prioritize preventing underage sales, making it easier for teens to obtain these products.

Peer-to-Peer Sales: Teens may engage in peer-to-peer sales, where older individuals buy disposable vapes legally and then distribute or sell them to minors. This practice can circumvent age restrictions and make it easier for young people to get their hands on these products.

Lack of Parental Awareness: Many parents and guardians may not be fully aware of the popularity of disposable vapes among teens or the potential risks associated with their use. Lack of parental supervision or awareness can contribute to the ease with which young people obtain these products.

Attractive Packaging: Some disposable vapes feature colorful and appealing packaging that may resemble candy or other innocent products. The enticing appearance can make it easier for teens to be drawn to these items.

Aggressive Marketing: Some companies employ aggressive marketing strategies to target young people, even though it is illegal to sell disposable vapes to minors. This marketing can create a perception that these products are safe or suitable for underage use.

The ease of purchasing disposable vapes favored by teens is a complex issue with multiple contributing factors. From online sales and lax enforcement to peer-to-peer transactions and aggressive marketing, these elements collectively facilitate young people’s access to these products. Addressing this problem requires a comprehensive approach, including stricter regulations, enhanced age verification measures, parental education, and more extensive efforts to curb unauthorized sales. By working collaboratively, regulators, law enforcement, parents, and communities can take steps to protect teenagers from the potential harm associated with disposable vape use.

Juul to pay $22.5 million to settle Washington vaping suit

Juul Labs, the largest e-cigarette manufacturer in Washington, will pay $22.5 million to Washington State. The settlement was announced Wednesday by Bob Ferguson, state attorney general.

Ferguson stated that the company bombarded social media with colorful advertisements shortly after the product was launched in 2015. This led to teens becoming addicted and a rise in vaping. Ferguson’s office reports that the percentage of high school seniors vaping in Washington increased from 13% in 2016 to close to 21% in 2018.

Juul Labs, who filed the consent decree in King County Superior Court said that they had committed no wrongdoing and that it was “another step” in their ongoing efforts to reset the company and address issues from the past.

Juul reached a $14.5 million settlement with Arizona state prosecutors, only months after it had agreed to pay $40 million in North Carolina. The company also promised not to market its products to minors in these states, just as it did in Washington. This was to increase enforcement for retailers who sell Juul’s products.

The company stated that it will continue to work with state and federal stakeholders to create a science-based, fully regulated marketplace for vapor products.

Juul must cease all advertising targeting youth under the Washington state settlement. It is also prohibited from marketing its products via social media such as Instagram and Facebook. Juul must monitor and report any social media content regarding JUUL products that are posted by underage users.

Juul’s website states that Juul had stopped advertising prior to Ferguson being sued in 2020. It also ended all sales of flavored products, except tobacco and menthol.

Ferguson claims that the secret shopper program is stronger than those offered in previous settlements. Juul must send secret shoppers to Washington-based Juul retailers at least 25 compliance inspections per month. This agreement will be in effect for at least two years. These checks must be done in all 39 counties of the state.

Ferguson’s office stated that secret shoppers must verify that the retailers comply with the requirements to verify an individual’s age and to ensure that the Juul purchase limit of one Juul device or 16 Juul pods per transaction is met.

American Vape Epidemic: The need for federal intervention

As of September 17th, the Center For Disease Control (CDC) announced the number of vaping related injuries has reached 530 cases across 38 states and confirmed that a seventh person has died from their illness. Health officials are racing to determine the exact cause of the injuries but have been unable to pinpoint a common factor among test samples. The current official recommendation is to avoid all vaping products.

The recent epidemic of sudden and severe injuries has accentuated the need for standardized federal regulations for nicotine and cannabis vaping industries. The Tobacco Control Act (2016) gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over electronic nicotine devices. The Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) monitors e-cigarette manufacturing, including the ingredients, production process, and marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, similar legislation does not exist for products containing THC, the primary ingredient in cannabis responsible for its medicinal and mind-altering properties.

Currently, 33 states permit medical marijuana use and 11 have legalized recreational use. A lack of federal oversight allows each state to define its own set of laws and regulations, making it impossible to create a consistent standard by which to compare and evaluate products. While many states have testing and reporting policies, there is no interstate collaboration, creating a confusing environment for suppliers and consumers.

Outside of registered dispensaries, illegal street products represent a more serious risk to the public. A complete absence of regulation makes it cheap and easy for suppliers to distribute substances that may contain harmful ingredients or toxins. Legal dispensary owners are pointing the finger at illegal street products as the root of the recent vaping illnesses.

Several countries have set standards for the vaping industry. France and the U.K. have led the charge in creating uniform policies to govern vape products. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a Swiss-based committee, is working with over 17 countries to develop standards for e-liquids and vaping equipment. The group promotes safety and quality requirements, standardized test methods, transparent ingredient reporting, and accurate labeling.

It clear that the Federal Government must act swiftly to protect the American public from the harmful effects of vaping. Marijuana advocates and medical professionals are calling for regulation that would eliminate black-market products and enforce rigid production, safety, and testing methods for legal distributors.