As of the end of August, all e-cigarette manufacturers have stopped using labeling that might entice children, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA originally warned these retailers and manufacturers in May to cease the sale of e-cigarette liquids with labeling that resembled candy, cookies or juice boxes. The FDA's main goal is to prevent children from consuming dangerous tobacco and nicotine products.
Setting a Poor Example
Many of these manufacturers used enticing colors and patterns that might appear child-friendly. Others took this advertising strategy one step further. "Whip'd Strawberry" e-liquids looked like miniature whipped cream bottles. The labeling on "One Mad Hit Juice Box" looked like those displayed on apple juice boxes. The packaging on "Unicorn Cakes" used imagery that resembled the cartoons in "My Little Pony."
The labeling on products directly impacts different audiences of consumers. If companies market tobacco products with colors and imagery that remind children of what they are used to consuming, kids might be confused into believing these items are safe.
As e-cigarettes are increasing in popularity, there have been more emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers due to exposure to e-liquids in children younger than six years old. The National Poison Data System conducted a study that demonstrated that of the 8,269 youth e-liquid incidents between Jan. 2012 and April 2017, 83.9 percent of these children were younger than three years old. Some potential outcomes from child and toddler exposure to e-liquids include coma, seizure, respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest.
In 2017, the FDA reported that 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 18 middle school students used tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. Some of the major reasons they get involved with e-cigarettes include:
- Use by a friend or family member
- Availability of flavors, like mint, chocolate and candy
- The notion that e-cigarettes are less dangerous than regular cigarettes
Advocating for Change
As part of the Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, the FDA regularly takes action to prevent the nation's youth from exposure to e-cigarettes. The FDA originally launched a campaign in 2014 called "The Real Cost" to prevent the nation's youth from experimenting with tobacco and nicotine. Between its launch and Sept. 2018, "The Real Cost" campaigned saved children, families and the country more than $31 billion. Some of these expenses include early loss of life, decreased productivity, disability, medical care and lost wages due to poor health.