By Stephanie Stahl

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The FDA is expected to announce its expected ban on the sale of most flavored E-cigarettes in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country.

The crackdown comes as federal health officials say flavored E-cigarettes can be very addictive and they’ve become hugely popular with minors.

It’s now estimated that 3.5 million children are vaping, that’s up 1 million young users since last year.

The research shows E-cig use has increased 77 percent among high schoolers and nearly 50 percent for students in middle school this year.

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“I now have good reason to believe that it’s reached nothing short of an epidemic proportion of growth,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

Studies have shown E-cigs can potentially release significant amounts of toxic chemicals — a concern for still developing adolescent brains, which are also more vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

“I don’t really think about it,” high school sophomore Kyler Kristopaitis said. “It’s just advertised as being healthier than smoking cigarettes.”

In September, the FDA set a 60-day deadline for several major E-cigarette companies to prove they could keep E-cigarettes away from kids.

“Everyone does it, like everyone,” Kyler said. “Every time I go to the bathroom there’s someone doing it.”

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The FDA is also considering online restrictions, including having age-verification requirements for those sales.

Part of the concern is that many E-cigarette users are likely to become addicted to nicotine and some could end up on regular cigarettes — a product that kills half of its long-term users.

Doctors say the long-term health consequences of vaping are not known. E-cig companies say they can help adults stop smoking real cigarettes and that they’re not intended for kids.

Comments (2)
  1. Michael J. McFadden says:

    It’s odd how the news story has such exact figures for “children” (up to 18 I believe, true?) who are vaping, but they mention absolutely nothing about the numbers who are smoking.

    That would certainly be relevant, wouldn’t it? If these numbers are IN ADDITION to the numbers who are smoking it’s certainly a very different story than if they are IN REPLACEMENT for the numbers who are smoking.

    Unless of course they’ve been lying to everyone for years about how terrible all the thousands of “poisons” and “carcinogens” in regular cigarettes are, and are now saying that removing those through having the same people vaping instead of smoking isn’t really any help.

    They end by saying two things:

    1) SOME of the e-cig lovers MIGHT switch over to regular cigarettes at some point, BUT… even if they ALL did, wouldn’t the situation still be better in terms of those “children” not having smoked during the years they were using JUULs etc instead? Despite e-cigs having been around for about ten years at this point there is still ABSOLUTELY ZERO evidence that vaping is attracting/creating more smokers — or you could bet your bippie that such evidence would be getting the headlines in stories like this. And it’s NOT.

    and

    2) That the “long-term health consequences of vaping are still not really known.” In a sense, that’s true, since we can never really KNOW anything like that until 50 years have gone by. But that would hold true for the thousands upon thousands of medications and products that the FDA approves happily every year after just a few years of testing: It’s always POSSIBLE that some of those things could have totally unforeseen consequences, but it’s so unlikely that the FDA ignores the problem… since, realistically, we’ve never really seen it as “a problem” for any other product. In terms of probabilities, the huge multiplicity of drugs approved that way by the FDA every year are FAR more probable to cause deadly consequences in the far future than the exposure to the very, very few and simple compounds in e-cigarettes.

    Finally, holding the e-cig companies responsible and penalizing them or banning their products because those under 18 have been using them would be like holding alcohol manufacteurers responsible for those under 21 who use their products. Should we close down the beer and liquor companies across the US, companies who regularly play their ads for children everywhere within reach of a television or radio broadcast of a Superbowl or World Series game?

    That would only be fair, right? And if the loss of ad revenue meant that those playoff games could only be held once every two years or every five years, hey, who would ever complain if it’s “for the sake of the children” who might otherwise end up dying or rotting livers in a gutter someday?

    As noted, Fair is Fair… and alcohol kills one helluva lot more children AS CHILDREN than Juuling or even smoking cartons of Camels and Luckies ever have!

    – MJM

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