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Vape News and Reviews

Mon Dec 18 2023

$18M Chinese Vapes Seized But Youth Impact Unclear

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently collaborated with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to confiscate $18 million worth of vaping products originating from China. While the agencies tout protecting American youth, the crackdown's public health impacts seem uncertain.

Quantifying An "Epidemic"

Since the Obama administration, manipulating vaping statistics enabled portraying an "epidemic" among teenagers. Surveys capturing any youth ever experimenting with vaping get presented as ongoing crisis-level use. But most experts agree vaping primarily assists adult smoking cessation/harm reduction, not endangering nonsmoking youth.

Yet utilizing the protector guise, the FDA steadily advances bans. The agency continues targeting vaping - spending three months organizing this relatively tiny seizure. But $18 million represents minor contraband flow amid a $6 billion U.S. vaping market. And no evidence suggests restricting vaping prevents youth adoption while clearly threatening access for adult smokers.

Predictable Underground Market

Public health advocates predicted aggressive vaping constraints would fuel black markets and cede ground to Big Tobacco corporations with resources to clear regulatory hurdles. Those forecasts actualized - with underground channels proliferating as former smokers get cut off from life-saving options.

And the FDA's multi-year "approval" process for vaping products predictably allowed market domination by leading cigarette makers. Out of over 500 applications, only products from R.J. Reynolds, Altria, and Japan Tobacco International secured clearance. The lengthy evaluations prevented innovative startups from competing.

No Longer A Fad But Still Demonized

Despite data confirming vaping's popularity rapidly fading among youth, government agencies sustain the moral panic messaging. Survey data consistently show underage usage declining yet FDA publicity suggests otherwise.

Rather than celebrate youth prevention success and support adult access, the FDA continues targeting reduced risk vaping through fines, seizures, and elite privilege. Diverting $18 million worth of Chinese products won't significantly curb underage usage already in retreat - but will limit cigarette smokers' migration to safer alternatives.

While youth vaping holds negligible public health consequences, disruptive FDA actions increasingly threaten harm reduction potential. As leading experts plead for risk-proportionate regulations, an ideological crusade against safer nicotine persists from D.C. to the ports.

Public servants or public health?

In a 1968 CBS interview, past Surgeon General Luther Terry who oversaw the first smoking warnings said:

"Government had a responsibility to...set out the facts as best they can be discovered and then let the individual make his or her own decision".

Despite fiery rhetoric against cigarettes, leaders still respected informed personal choice regarding risks - an overlooked perspective as vaping undergoes skewed scrutiny.

Rather than recent distortions and power imbalances, Terry's measured guidance would enable genuine progress. The FDA should transparently communicate relative risk to empower adult choice. And cease arbitrary vaping attacks creating needless contraband dangers. Listening to past wisdom may prove the surest path forward.