Submitted by Dr. Elizabeth and Dan Telford.
In May of last year, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department welcomed news of a 1-year, $609,711 grant from the Puyallup Tribe aimed at reducing tobacco use, including vaping, among our local (youth) residents.
In 2023, 10% of all high school and middle school students reported using a tobacco product in the previous 30 days. More students currently used e-cigarettes than any other tobacco product, and over 89% of e-cigarette users reported using a flavored product. Disposable e-cigarettes were the most common device type.
One significant challenge for everyone is the prevailing ambiguity surrounding the legal status of certain vaping products. Within our community, retailers often grapple with the difficulty of distinguishing between products they can legally sell and those classified as forbidden substances. This lack of clarity not only impedes their ability to comply with the law but also poses a significant risk to young consumers. To address this issue effectively, we urge the FDA to act and issue new, clear, and comprehensive guidelines to retailers. These guidelines should leave no room for interpretation and should explicitly outline which products are permitted for sale and which are prohibited.
FDA can utilize their regulatory authority to curb the sale of illegal disposable vapes and create a safer environment for the well-being of our future generations. This way we all win.