In a recent CNBC documentary entitled “Vaporized: America’s E-Cigarette Addiction”, the future of e cigarettes in the US looks to become even more challenging leading up to the inevitable FDA laws, due to come into effect in the not so distant future.
The premise of the documentary is that many brands of e cigarettes in the US are actively targeting children and teenagers to take up vaping. And it seems to be a big problem state-side with recent FDA studies finding that almost 21% of school aged kids had vaped at least once in the last 30 days in 2018.
The documentary aired last week, just a week after San Francisco become the first US city to ban the sale of e cigarettes, vapes and e-liquids in specialist vape shops, grocery and convenience stores and online.
These issues don’t appear though in the UK and EU, so what makes Europe so different from the US?
In the EU, laws were passed in 2016 that set stringent limits on the production and sale of all electronic cigarette and e-liquid products. The size of refills and tanks was limited to 2.0ml, e-liquids could only be sold in 10ml bottles, all ingredients must be declared and submitted to health bodies like the MHRA and all e-cig devices had to ensure consistent nicotine delivery.
Many of the medical researchers and health bodies in Europe and around the world tend to agree that compared to smoking traditional cigarettes switching to e-cigarettes and vapes is a massive step in the right direction. As long as e-cigs comply with safety standards like the level of nicotine and use of safe ingredients that is.
In fact, Public Health England states that “e cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful than traditional tobacco products”.
Additionally, restrictions were introduced that limited how e cigarettes could be advertised and the sale of vaping products to under 18s was banned.
And it seems to have worked. In the UK the adoption of e-cigarettes by under 18’s is extremely low, with only 1.7% of teenagers using e-cigarettes at least once that week.
This is incredible news as it means E-cigarettes in the UK are overwhelmingly be used only by those who are trying to quit and they are helping them achieve their goals. However, as was mentioned at the beginning of this article this isn’t the case across the pond.
Without the same strict controls and regulations that have now been in effect for the last 3 years in Europe, brands have been able to get vast numbers of young people hooked on nicotine and vaping who may or may not have smoked in the first place.
An excellent example of how this happened is one of the biggest e cigarette brands in the US. They launched onto the market with a new formulation of nicotine e-liquid called Nicotine Salts or Nic Salts. This combines nicotine with benzoic acid which lowers the alkalinity of an e-liquid and delivers a weaker throat hit vs. the traditional Freebase Nicotine used in most e-cigarettes.
With Freebase Nicotine (like that found in most e cigarettes in Europe), anything over 2.0% or 20mg can be too harsh for the majority of vapers. However, for the majority of people who have used e cigarette to quit smoking cigarettes, 2.0% nicotine has been an effective level.
When this brand introduced their product with Nic Salts, they were able to increase the amount of nicotine to 5.0% or 50mg – which is 2.5 times the legal limit of nicotine that is allowed in the UK – but would deliver a similar throat hit.
Without the same laws limiting the amount of nicotine that control the industry in the EU, they have been able to take a substantial share of the US e cigarette market.
Even worse, beyond the introduction of high strength Nic Salts e cigarettes, there’s no control on the sale and marketing of e cigarettes to minors.
If children and teens are able to buy products from convenience and specialist stores or they can get adults to buy them and there’s no punishment for those retailers who sell to minors, then the use of high strength Nic Salt e cigarettes by teens will only continue rise.
Here are SMOKO, we follow a strict “Challenge 25” policy, age verification checks on online orders and all of our products are 100% compliant with the EU and UK Laws. We’re not trying to be cool or make our products attractive to kids, in fact the average age of our customer base is 40 years old+.
We have only ever been interested in providing an effective and affordable solution for people looking to quit smoking cigarettes. Since we started, we have prevented over 150,000,000 cigarettes from being consumed while saving our customers over £60m+ of their hard-earned money from literally going up in smoke!
It is our hope that the FDA implements fair but effective regulations on the US market similar to the EU laws and that the e cigarette brands focus their efforts on providing safe products and follow ethical and logical business practices to ensure the US e cigarette industry stabilizes and continues to provide an effective solution to tobacco products.