Lawmakers in the United State alleged that the executive of e-cigarette companies were responsible for introducing nicotine to a new generation of Americans and demanded stricter regulations against such companies during a hearing on Wednesday.
The increasing concerns the teenagers in the country are getting addicted to vaping has prompted the US to seek ways to rewrite the rules and regulations for the vaping industry as whole.
While a partial ban on vaping was recently signed by US pr3esident Donald Trump, the age to purchase such products was recently raised to 21 years by the Congress.
Their own steps to curb usage have been taken by them, companies selling and marketing e-cigarettes have said.
But such actions were described to be “too little too late” by New Jersey congressman Frank Pallone. “The significant progress we made to curb tobacco use has simply vanished,” he said, adding that he held the manufacturers responsible. If you wanted to be men of integrity, you would not be selling this product. You’d be doing something else,”. Pallone said
The vaping products are primarily aimed at helping adult smokers to quit smoking traditional cigarettes, claimed the vaping companies that were present at the hearing which included Juul, Reynolds America, NJoy, and Fontem.
What is appealing about the e-cigarettes to teenagers is the marketing of the products in flavors like mint or vanilla, say some critics.
According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 27% of US teenagers aged 14-18 and about 10% of those aged 11-13 had used e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days. They were used vaping on a regular basis, said about a fifth of older teens in the survey.
According to a new regulation, companies that approval for their products from the Food and Drug Administration have to be obtained by companies selling e-cigarettes in the United States starting in May this year.
However lawmakers wanted more action, they said during the hearing. Exemptions to the product ban that were announced in January by President Donald Trump were criticized by Democrats.
The trend of vaping among teenagers was also a cause of concern for them, said vaping companies. That trend potentially undermined the industry as a whole, they said.
“I know it puts it all at risk if we don’t make progress here,” said KC Crosthwaite, chief executive of Juul Labs, one of the biggest vape producers in the US.
There has been severe criticism of Juul in particular as some critics even alleged that the company directly marketed its products to teenagers. The criticism has forced the company to cancel advertising campaigns and has suspended sale of most flavors, including mint. Those flavored products had accounted for more than 70 per cent of its total sales. These measures have impacted the business of the company.
Recently, a 35 per cent stake in the company was taken by Marlboro-maker Altria and the later was forced to reduce the value of that investment by about two-thirds of the investment value.
The crackdown on vaping would hurt growth, tobacco group Imperial Brands has also warned investors.
(Adapted from BBC.com)