COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A dangerous “epidemic,” that’s how the FDA is referring to e-cigarette use among minors.
And now, they’re cracking down on illegal sales.
The FDA is calling out e-cigarette retailers for, in their view, hooking minors on the product.
“I’m deeply disturbed by what i see as an epidemic of nicotine use among teenagers,” said FDA Chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
But shops like American Vape & E-cigs say they’re not part of the problem. They’re against selling to minors, too.
“We’re all checking ID’s. It hurts our industry as a whole. So we do everything we can to try and not let that happen,” said shop owner Monica Clayton.
A new FDA campaign vows to look at what makes these products marketable to teens, even considering removing flavors since they see them as a major youth appeal.
Clayton disagrees with the approach. She thinks the reduced stigma around e-cigs could be creating a distorted view.
“I don’t think that the flavors is what’s drawing them in,” she said.
“I think they’re just a little more forward about it and admitting to it so maybe they’re seeing it more as an epidemic.”
18-year-old Makenzie Arndt is just over that legal threshold.
She says e-cigs have helped her cope with emotional struggles.
“It makes me feel good, it doesn’t want me to do anything dangerous, it’s saying ‘hey, i’m here.’ it’s a crutch,'” Arndt explained.
She credits e-cigs with giving her peace of mind and saves the label of “dangerous” for hard drugs.
“I know people that do those and his heart almost stopped,” she said.
“It has stopped, actually. from a drug overdose.”
But the FDS is pushing forward in its mission to get e-cigarettes out of the hands of teens.
You can expect to see the FDA’s new, full-scale campaign to roll out sometime next week.
El Paso County Sheriff’s Office says from July 2018 up to present day, they have not received any reports of e-cigarettes being sold to minors.
Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office is working on getting those stats for News 5.