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Schumer pushes for regulations on e-cigs as more kids vape

Sen. Chuck Schumer urged the federal government Sunday to reverse a recent decision to delay the regulation of e-cigarettes after citing alarming data that show one in five teens in New York State vape.

The nicotine gadget called “Juul” has become especially popular among teenagers because it’s easy to hide, Schumer said at a press conference in Manhattan.

To know that New York kids are much more likely to be using these new-age e-cig devices, like Juul, is not only concerning, but it could be dangerous,” Schumer said. Up until now, the FDA was on track to reign in e-cigs and regulate them like any other tobacco product, but this recent delay, coupled with the new numbers showing a rise in the use of gadgets like Juul, which can fool teachers and be brought to school, demands the FDA smoke out dangerous e-cigs and their mystery chemicals before more New York kids get hooked.”

Juul comes in a variety of flavors and can be easily concealed by kids in the classroom because it looks identical to a USB flash drive. It can even be charged in school or at home on a laptop.

Schumer said that Juul may be even more dangerous than conventional smoking because one “pod” promises the amount of nicotine equal to an entire pack of conventional cigarettes.

In July, the Food and Drug Administration decided to hold off on implementing an already finalized rule that would regulate e-cigarettes.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the delay would give the agency time to determine how e-cigarettes fit into its overall tobacco regulatory strategy. But Schumer said postponing regulation on vaping is a mistake.

According to the surgeon general, in 2015 more than 3 million middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes in the past month. In New York, 20 percent said they had vaped.

According to the New York State Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board, one in five New York high school students used e-cigarettes in the last year.

New York’s rate is higher than the national average. According to the Centers for Disease Control, e-cigarettes were used by 11.3 percent of high school students nationwide in 2016.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain a mechanism inside the device that heats up liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers then inhale and exhale.

Unlike conventional cigarettes, however, e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco.This key difference has led some to deem e-cigarettes safer to smoke.

But Schumer emphasized that not all risks are known, and some studies have highlighted the dangers of e-cigarettes. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that some e-cigs with higher voltage levels can contain cancer-causing formaldehyde at levels up to fifteen times more than regular cigarettes.

Tobacco usage among teens has plummeted in recent decades amid news laws banning smoking in public venues as well as increases in cigarette taxes, particularly in the city. Teens and young adults have turned to vaping as an alternative.

Schumer said that the FDA’s delay means that flavored e-cigarettes can remain on the market until at least 2022.

JUUL was designed to displace cigarettes and is intended for use only by adult smokers who want to switch from cigarettes. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors. It is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors and we support all enforcement efforts of existing laws,” said JUUL lab spokesperson Christine Castro.

We incorporate prevention methods into all aspects of our business. For example, while the legal age for purchase is 18+ in most states, we have limited purchase of JUUL products online to age 21+. We use industry-leading ID match and age verification technology to ensure that customers attempting to purchase on JUUL.com are age 21+. Our system requires customers to submit their IDs to a public record search, where information is verified against multiple databases containing records from trusted and secure sources, as well as our internal team.

We are also strong supporters of effective regulation designed to prevent the improper sale and/or use of our products, and we always welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers, regulators and advocacy groups in pursuit of restricting our product to its intended consumers.

Source: New York Post

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