FDA now targeting convenience stores in multi-prong plan to kill vaping
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a massive bee in its bonnet when it comes to vaping in America. The agency’s chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb has been very active in the past few months demonizing the vaping industry in the mainstream press and on social media. By using strategies of the Donald Trump playbook involving the spreading of disinformation and even outright lies, Gottlieb’s devious efforts seem to be working. More Americans than ever before are now under the mistaken impression that vaping is just as hazardous and carcinogenic as smoking.
Commissioner Gottlieb began his anti-vaping crusade by blasting flavored e-liquids. In a September 12 press announcement, he claimed that teen vaping has become a national “epidemic.” In the eyes of the FDA, some vape companies like Juul are either intentionally or unwittingly using “kid-appealing” marketing strategies that are allegedly driving up e-cig usage among middle and high schoolers. However, the FDA has yet to release any scientific evidence proving these claims.
Meanwhile, the presser further announced the launching of yet another FDA probe into five of the vaping industry’s leading manufacturers. The investigation subsequently would be expanded about a month later to include an astounding 27 companies in total.
Just days after the initial FDA press release of September 12, Gottlieb kicked things up a notch by threatening to implement a nationwide ban on all online sales of vapor-related products including mods, coils, tanks, and everything in between. This announcement came during a September 25 interview at an Axios-hosted event televised on C-SPAN2.
FDA Chief Gottlieb talks convenience stores and teen vaping
Just a few days ago, FDA’s Gottlieb appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box where he then suggested that a possible ban on the sales of vaping products sold through convenience stores may be right around the corner. This three-pronged combination of actions (nationwide flavor ban, online purchase ban, and the latest convenience store ban) would theoretically leave only brick-and-mortar vape shops for the legal purchase of e-cigs, e-liquids, and vapor technology – for now.
"We're looking at what can be sold in brick-and-mortar stores and whether or not flavored products can be sold in regular stores like a 7-Eleven and a truck stop and a gas station, or whether or not flavored products on the market should be confined to adult vaping shops, which generally tend to do a better job of checking ID."
According to an FDA database, several convenience stores including Circle K, 7-Eleven, Mobil, and Shell have each been caught red-handed selling to minors on numerous occasions. Each company has received an official warning letter from the FDA while being remanded to provide documentation to agency officials regarding past marketing campaigns and current teen prevention strategies.
The probe ends in just a few weeks, which means that the FDA might be very close to instituting dramatic changes to regulatory requirements related to the vaping industry. If a ban on convenience store sales becomes a reality, then vapers residing in smaller and rural communities may find it nearly impossible to purchase vaping supplies at all. And the temptation to return to combustible cigarettes could be a huge windfall for Big Tobacco and a severe detriment to public health.
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