Vape shops worried as FDA moves to restrict flavored e-cig sales

The FDA is trying to crack down on the sale of fruity flavored e-cigarettes.
The FDA is trying to crack down on the sale of fruity flavored e-cigarettes.(WXIX)
Updated: Mar. 13, 2019 at 9:55 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The FDA is trying to crack down on the sale of fruity flavored e-cigarettes. The announcement was made Wednesday in an effort to make the habit less appealing to teens.

There's no question that vaping has become extremely popular over the years. Many users like Pierre Jebbins turned to vaping to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

“I don’t smoke the nicotine. It’s all zero milligrams just for the flavor and I feel great,” said Jebbins.

However, the flavors could soon be harder to find if the FDA has its way. The agency’s new proposal would limit sales of flavored nicotine pods to websites, vape shops and other retailers that impose age restrictions. Their goal is to stop the teen vaping surge.

The owner of Cincy Vapors, Jeff Kathman, believes the FDA is taking the wrong approach.

“We need to limit things like internet access. That’s where a lot of kids are getting them. Peer to peer purchases. The straw purchases. I don’t know if eliminating flavors is going to take that away. Yeah they’re not going to like it as much but I still think they’re going to use it,” said Kathman.

The CDC says in the past year 3.6 million middle and high school students reported that they vaped. According to the CDC, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.

Customers say they don't want to see the flavors go, but if it happens they understand.

“I would be upset, but at the same time it’s for the cause they’re doing it for. It’s reasonable,” said Jebbins.

The restrictions won’t apply to menthol, mint and tobacco e-cigarette flavors that the FDA says are more appealing to adults.

“I do one that tastes like an orange creamsicle. Everybody likes that right. I’m an adult. I’m 52 years old and I still like ice cream. The flavors are the key to this industry without flavors we have nothing,” said Kathman.

He says if the new policy is approved he not only fears a major loss of sales but he believes more people would go back to smoking cigarettes, which he believes is more harmful.

“We’re going to lose a lot of jobs. The biggest thing we’re going to lose is the benefit for adults to have a healthy alternative,” said Kathman.

The FDA will accept comments on the guidelines for 30 days before finalizing the plan later this year.

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