ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Food and Drug Administration is taking some more steps to keep e-cigarettes away from teenagers.
They announced it would restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to minors as well as require FDA approval for these products by 2021.
The health department in Albany also stressed the importance of teens and young adults knowing the facts and the risks.
Although e-cigarettes were introduced to help people stop smoking traditional cigarettes, Ebonee Kirkwood with the health department said there’s no evidence to support that claim because most of them still contain the same highly addictive nicotine.
Kirkwood also said a lot of teens and young adults are going straight to the e-cigs which can actually be a gateway to the traditional tobacco products.
“The marketing is definitely what’s attracting the youth and the young adults to the e-cigs,” Kirkwood said.
Newer e-cigs come in different shapes and sizes attracting teens and young users to the heavy puffs of smoke and the sweet candy flavors they produce.
They’re also using cool attractive ways to draw in the younger crowd.
“They make their devices look really high-tech and a lot of their products will look very similar to a USB flash drive," Kirkwood said.
According to the CDC, the manufacturers of JUUL said a single pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
Kirkwood said most young users just think it’s cool, they’re easily influenced and misinformed on the facts.
“If you’re under the age of 25, your brain is still developing so it does cause a lot of brain developmental issues," Kirkwood said.
Some of the health risks include heart disease, concentration issues, mood disorders and impulsive behaviors.
As a parent, if you have a child who is vaping, Kirkwood pointed out, you should be patient, listen to them, and be prepared for their responses, and have an ongoing conversation.
“You want to make sure that you have all of the facts because again most of the youth, students they wouldn’t use the products beforehand if they knew the harms,” she added.
There are resources available such as the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line.