Last month, President Donald Trump announced a ban on all flavored vape pods. To clarify what exactly this means and what specifically is off-limits, Jamie Ducharme for TIME states, "The new plan applies to the cartridge-based e-cigarette products made by companies like Juul Labs, which are particularly popular among teenagers. Under the policy, companies will be prohibited from selling e-liquids in fruit, dessert and mint flavors, leaving only menthol and tobacco products on the market. Larger, tank-style e-cigarettes—which users can manually fill with e-liquids of their choice and are primarily sold in age-restricted vape shops—would be exempt."
This policy has recently gone into effect and with it, nicotine addicts everywhere are being punished and having important resources taken away from them. This flavor ban, touted as necessary and for children, is simply a result of misinformation campaigns.
For years now, the media has slandered the vaping industry every chance it got. When people die from contaminated, black-market THC cartridges, vaping as a whole is blamed, as if the industry is responsible for corner-cutting drug dealers. When someone's vape explodes because of improper maintenance or because they leave bare batteries to slosh around in their pocket all day, it is somehow the industry's fault. Winning the award for the most ridiculous example, any and all flavors beyond ones mimicking cigarettes are condemned as being vehicles to market vape products to children, conveniently ignoring children are not the only human beings who like things that taste good.
After more than half a decade of sensationalist articles attacking vaping, public perception, especially among non-smokers, has become muddled. As such, there is now a slew of people who take a hardline stance against its very existence. With burgeoning public support, I would bet this ban is only the second of its kind, with the first being the ban on in-store taste testing and maintenance, in a long line of major strikes against the vaping market. The Food and Drug Administration and its lobbying allies will continually attempt to slowly regulate the industry into oblivion with the death of brick and mortar vape shops or tank and RDA-based juice flavors probably being next.
Anti-vape propaganda like the tries-too-hard-to-be-cool TRUTH ads and the aforementioned, taken-out-of-context articles will continue to pepper the internet as well. If history is not convincing enough, take it from the ones responsible for this flavor ban.
According to Alex Azar, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, "We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America's youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary."
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn mirrored these sentiments as well. People at the top are being extremely transparent about the crusade against vaping being underway. I am more than confident they will take further "necessary" actions.
Now that the shady nature of this debacle has been revealed, is it an effective plan at least? No, it is not. As most college students can clearly remember, children will always be determined to do anything they are not allowed to do. Alcohol, drugs and tobacco products are supposed to be out of their reach, yet they are commonly possessed by underage people everywhere. This ban will only drive these kids into more dangerous, underground channels and will push the ones already addicted to nicotine to move towards the now more readily available cigarettes.
Sheila Kaplan of The New York Times outlines this is already happening. As a result, the children will move onto options like disposable e-cigarettes which are inferior and probably not as healthy as a JUUL. So, if kids will simply move to different options, where does the banning stop? How many products will the powers-that-be have to kill before they are satisfied in their righteous battle for America's future? The answer is probably not pleasant, and as someone who started his nicotine addiction at a fairly young age, it is terrifying. Vaping, in my personal experience, is the most effective and appealing option to help quit cigarettes.
Overall, the attack on the vaping industry is going to deprive thousands, potentially millions, of Americans from getting their lives back. The FDA will continue to treat America like a land of babies who do not deserve to make their own decisions regarding what they partake in. This should worry us all, and a push back needs to start. Awareness needs to be spread. Succinctly put, vaping is officially endangered, and we all need to take a look at the facts before it is extinct.