FDA must ‘crack down’ on e-cigarette sales to minors, Sen. Schumer says

Sen. Chuck Schumer called for the FDA to ban
Sen. Chuck Schumer called for the FDA to ban “kid-friendly flavors” of e-cigarettes, such as whipped cream or juice, at a news conference on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Photo Credit: Kevin Condon

The Federal Drug Administration needs to do a better job of regulating the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes, Sen. Charles Schumer said on Sunday.

Schumer said the FDA needs to “crack down” on the laws already on the books, including not allowing sales to minors. He also said the FDA needs to ban what he called “kid-friendly flavors” like whipped cream or juice.

“Our call today is not for new laws, not for new regulations — they’re there,” he said. “But what good are these regulations if they’re not being enforced?”

In October 2017, Schumer pushed the FDA to limit the sale of e-cigarettes to people over 18 years old, like regular tobacco products. Schumer stood with a group of teens who helped create a video warning against the dangers of smoking e-cigarettes like the brand Juul, which resembles a USB flash drive and can be charged on a computer.

“The craze among kids for e-cigarette flavors that resemble whipped cream, candies, cookies is not only a bad trend, it’s a recipe for disaster that’s fueling outright addiction,” Schumer said. “Simply put: New York kids are in a flavor trap and that’s becoming an epidemic.”

Jack Solomon, 15, a freshman at Scarsdale High School, said he buys them himself and does not run into problems with his age. Solomon, who spoke in the video as well, said the sweet flavors appeal to him.

“It’s so addictive. I’m trying to stop, but my mind is just telling me I need smoke to come out of my mouth,” said Solomon, who added he started smoking in eighth grade.

The e-cigarette companies, he said, “don’t care about the health of teens.”

An FDA spokesman said the agency will respond directly to Schumer. 

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