The E-cig, or vaping, industry has grown drastically in the last decade, and the statistics are astonishing. In 2015, the vaping market reported a $2.5 billion in sales that didn’t exist ten years ago. An estimated four million Americans are now vaping, and a reported 6,000 new vaping shops opened in the last year alone.
Today, the consumer has about 466 e-cig brands and more than 7,700 flavors to choose from. The most popular flavors among vape users are fruit flavors — preferred by 31% of adults surveyed. This, however, has one worrisome side effect — the vape pens are very attractive to minors, and because the industry is so new, legislation hasn’t caught up their use.
Rosa DeLauro, a Democratic representative in the third district of Connecticut, is aiming to change that. In a comment for CTpost.com, DeLauro said: “We cannot afford a setback in the progress we have made limiting tobacco use. Consumers need to understand the possible health consequences of using e-cigarettes and the need to keep these toxic nicotine delivery devices out of our children’s hands.”
DeLauro is aiming to introduce legislation that would require verification that the customer is over 18 before allowing them to purchase vaping products online. Connecticut banned the sale of vaping materials to people under 18 last year, but this bill would ban the shipment of vaping products through USPS, and require the same age verification process as tobacco for online purchases.
This news comes amid a larger backlash against minors using vape pens. Last week, Ferrara Candy filed a formal complaint against the company TrinitySun Inc. for trademark infringement, claiming their flavor “Fruit Stripe” used the branding of the well-known Fruit Stripe gum to sell vaping products.
After sending several cease-and-desist letters, TrinitySun changed the name of their flavor to “striped gum,” but that wasn’t enough for Ferrara, according to an article on Consumerist. Ferrara stated in the complaint, “If parents thought Ferrara Candy was trying to use its famous candy brands to hook children into nicotine products, it would dramatically and irreparably harm Ferrara Candy and its FRUIT STRIPE trademark.”
Parents who want to keep their kids away from vaping would do well to talk to their children about it, and keep the products out of sight so as not to set a bad example, just as they would for tobacco use. The FDA proposed legislation to ban the sale of e-cigs to minors at a federal level in 2014, and several states have passed their own legislation doing the same already — among them Maryland, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah, Tennessee, Colorado, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.