NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The FDA wants to limit the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to keep them out of the hands of teens. While health officials believe it’s the right thing to do, one local business owner believes the move could put vape shops who sell to adults out of business.
Visit most vape shops and you’ll find a variety of flavors for customers. But in an effort to fight an alarming surge in youth e-cigarette use, the FDA is now proposing new guidelines that would remove some flavors from store shelves.
“As these products became more available, that threatens to introduce a whole new generation to nicotine addiction and threatens the progress we’ve made in teen smoking,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter with the Louisiana Department of Health.
Kanter says the FDA’s proposed change is the right move.
“Any way that teens can access these products we view as a danger, particularly the flavored products. It’s so cynical to think that companies are marketing e-cigarettes with flavors like bubble gum or other candy-like products specifically to kids. It really isn’t the way it should be,” said Kanter.
Local vape shop owner Jeff Weber says he already has safeguards in place to make sure e-cigarettes aren’t sold to those under 18.
“My guys would probably card me if they didn’t know me walking into the store,” said Weber, who is co-owner of The Vaping Tiger.
He says removing flavors would not only be detrimental to business owners but also to adults trying to kick a cigarette habit.
“The further you get away from the flavor of tobacco the easier it is to not pick up a cigarette,” said Weber. “It will destroy the small businesses, any of your vape shops that you’ve seen around town that are independently owned and their entire revenue comes from vape is going to be out of business if you completely remove flavors.”
In the new proposed guidelines, the FDA says it’s also trying to stop the online sale of e-cigarettes to minors by making internet retailers use independent, third-party identity verification services and limiting the amount of e-cigarettes a customer can buy within a certain period of time.
“E-cigarettes can be of use for adults who want to reduce their cigarette use, but we need to balance that with the way that they’re be marketing to kids and the access in our young people,” said Kanter.