I am writing to you today as a concerned parent and also as a member of the grassroots advocacy group Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVe). I am deeply worried about what you and your predecessor Dr. Scott Gottlieb; the Surgeon General; the Health Secretary and many others have publicly referred to as the “epidemic” of flavored e-cigarette and, specifically, JUUL use by almost 4 million kids across the country.
Vaping has become so normative in youth culture that JUULing is a verb and the school bathroom is referred to as the JUUL Room. Gottlieb hinted before his resignation that updated federal figures on youth use, due later this year, may be even more shocking.
E-cigarette companies including JUUL, the market leader, have used candy-like flavors to lure our children into trying these nicotine-delivery products. Research has proven that FLAVORS HOOK KIDS and keep them from perceiving that these products contain nicotine and are dangerous to their health.
In fact, one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as 1.5 packs of cigarettes. The company’s patented “nicotine-salt” technology means that its nicotine is more potent and easily absorbed by the brain (plus the high content has created a nicotine arms race among JUUL and its copycats). Extensive research has shown that nicotine exposure adversely affects cognitive function and the development of the adolescent brain, rewiring it for other types of addiction. And the change is permanent.
Since JUUL, other flavored e-cigarettes, and their ‘pods’ are available online and through so many third-party sellers, our children are able to buy them (often in bulk) without our knowledge. Even worse, many retailers do not check kids’ IDs to make sure they are at least 18-years-old (or 21 in some states).
While we appreciate the agency’s focus on this crisis, we believe that tough talk is no longer enough: We urgently need regulatory ACTION!
Please ban e-cigarette flavors immediately to slow this epidemic and keep younger kids from starting to JUUL! Please save our kids from becoming Generation Nicotine Addiction!