In a recent news story that we shared, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that the FDA plans to move forward with a flavor ban on eliquid. I know that many of you are probably upset by this, as you should be. This is a typical U.S. government knee jerk reaction to 'save the children'. According to the article, his decision is based on a CDC Survey that was conducted in 2016. According to the survey, 31% of teens claim that the reason they vape is because of the availability of fruit and candy flavors. Many of us in the vape industry question the validity of said survey to begin with. Now, the FDA is using that survey as the basis for policy?
I am not ashamed to admit that I started smoking cigarettes when I was 15 years old. That was in 1985, and I can promise that the availability of flavors had zero impact on my stupid decision to start smoking. So, are there more teens vaping/smoking today compared to 1985 or any other date previous to the introduction of electronic cigarettes? I seriously doubt it and as a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet that overall the numbers are down, even if you combine the totals of teen smokers AND vapers. The reality of life is that teenagers ARE going to make stupid decisions. Do we need a nanny state to mitigate these decisions or do we need parental involvement in their children's lives?
We have always followed the rules in regards to selling our products to minors. We were the first vape shop in our markets to ban anyone under the age of 18 in our retail stores (not a popular decision, but the right one) even before it was a law in Florida. We have also stopped many underage sales from our website through diligent age verification (years before it was required).
What I find to be the highest level of hypocrisy in FDA's decision to ban vape flavors is the overwhelming abundance of fruit and candy flavored alcohol that is currently on the market. So, my question to FDA is this....if fruit and candy flavored eliquid will encourage children to start vaping/smoking, then by that logic, won't fruit and candy flavored alcoholic beverages encourage children to start drinking?
The FDA has announced that they will soon open up a window for public comments, and I strongly encourage all vapers to voice their opinions on vape flavors. Would you be happy if the only flavor you could vape would be a tobacco flavor? We will certainly be weighing in and back our comments with 7 years of sales data showing what flavors have been the most popular for our customers. As soon as FDA releases information on how you can comment, we will pass that along. Let's join together and fight this government overreach!