What you need to know about the FDA’s changes – and resources that can help break the vaping habit

Parents concerned about teen vaping and the recent cases of “vaping illnesses” can breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement this January that it will ban vaping products with fruit and mint flavors. (Menthol and tobacco-flavored products will still be available.) There is one concession to vaping vendors, in that shops can still sell flavors from tank-based systems, which let people mix their own vaping and nicotine liquids.

The FDA noted that the change is in response to “epidemic levels of youth use of e-cigarettes and the popularity of certain products among children.” This is coupled with recently signed legislation increasing the minimum age of tobacco sales to 21, the agency added. In Virginia, the issue has led to the state’s school leaders working on new education efforts to stem e-cigarette use in Virginia high schools.

Growing Concerns

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), vaping is now the most commonly used form of nicotine among U.S. youth, and many teens may not even realize cartridges contain nicotine in addition to flavoring. Several studies suggest that vaping significantly raises the risk of becoming addicted to cigarettes and other tobacco products, and the FDA’s recent ban could steer teens away from e-cigarettes and bring more awareness of vaping’s dangers.

 VIDEO: Watch our “Ask the Expert” presentation on youth vaping

RELATED: Q+A: Dangers of Teen Vaping

“These new regulations are a recognition of the health risks of vaping, and a step in the right direction towards decreasing the trend of increased usage in adolescents,” says Sunil Kapoor, MD, Chief of Pediatric Pulmonology and Medical Director of Inova’s Pediatric Lung and Allergy Center.

“E-cigarette usage is not safe from an acute or chronic standpoint,” Dr. Kapoor says. “The nicotine addiction risk, especially for children and adolescents, is tremendous with vaping, and the health risks for the other components in the vape juice are beginning to become better understood.”

Nicotine can slow brain development in kids and teens and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention and mood. They can also cause severe lung damage, and even death. In this Q&A, Dr. Kapoor describes how cases of severe lung illness are accelerating, and that it is unknown what the long-term consequences of vaping will be.

If you or your children are struggling with vaping addiction, Inova has resources that can help, including tips to quit. Visit Inova’s Children’s Hospital health resource page on e-cigarettes for more information.

RELATED: The Vaping Epidemic: Get the Facts

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