Teenagers have found a gaping loophole in a new policy that bans the sale of flavored vape products. The policy, announced last month by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), prohibits the sale of “unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children, including fruit and mint.” But the rule, designed to protect youth from the dangers of vaping, allows disposable vape products – including those in mint, dessert and fruit flavors – to remain on the market.
When the Trump administration announced the ban on flavored vape products, including those sold by popular brand JUUL, it applied to all e-liquid flavors. But the administration cowered in order to appease vape shop owners and adult consumers who pitched a fit about the new regulations, and allowed exceptions for tobacco- and menthol-flavored products. A footnote in the policy also permits flavoring in devices that are designed to be disposable.
It didn’t take long for teenagers to discover the loophole. “Students were telling me that everybody has gone to Puff Bars, which are disposable,” Lauren W. Williams, a teacher at McCracken County High School, told The New York Times. “The one we confiscated here this week is Banana Ice. Students are not using JUULs anymore because no one wants menthol or tobacco.”
JUUL, a favorite brand among youth, pulled its flavored e-liquids last fall after catching heat for its fashionable designs, fun flavors, and youth-focused marketing campaigns. And while the Trump administration may have chalked up a win for itself with the ban, youth are proving that they can’t be outsmarted and are snapping up pre-charged, pre-filled disposable devices under brand names like Puff Bars, blu, Posh and Stig. Even more alarming is that some of these disposable products have a higher nicotine level than JUUL.
“JUUL’s so yesterday, we’ve moved on,” Kristina Rodgers, principal of Roosevelt High School in Seattle, told the New York Times. “Teens are very savvy and if they are addicted, they are going to do what it takes to continue a habit that is now plaguing their lives.”
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices.