UConn students react to FDA’s e-cig restriction


FILE – In this Tuesday, April 10, 2018, file photo, a high school principal displays vaping devices that were confiscated from students in such places as restrooms or hallways at the school in Massachusetts. The Food and Drug Administration is planning on requiring strict limits on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, including age verification controls for online sales, in an effort to curtail their use among children and teenagers. FDA officials tell The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, Nov. 8, the actions are expected to be announced as early as the following week. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

The FDA’s recent ban on e-cigarettes has received with mixed reactions from University of Connecticut students. Most agree the ban leaves the college-aged demographic better off in the long run.

The FDA ban is a restriction on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes, including age verification controls for online sales and a mandatory off-limits area or minor restrictions for retail stores carrying the e-cigarette products, according to Chicago’s WGN-9.

Many UConn students report having e-cigarette dependencies, as well as long-term attempts to quit.

“I go through a pod in two or three days,” third-semester biology major and member of the Public Health Learning Community, Jayden Lee said. “It is one of the biggest regrets [that] I have started. My friends all did. I took a hit and I liked it; from there it was a downward spiral.”

Juul’s exponential growth since 2014 has monopolized the e-cigarette market, controlling 72.8 percent of market shares as of early September 2018, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

This growth proved problematic, as the brand’s self-proclaimed intentions of creating a “satisfying alternative to cigarettes,” transitioned to an “epidemic” of youth e-cigarette use, according to FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

A one-year Juul user, who wished to remain anonymous so as not to harm his reputation, said Juul has taken over both college students and “everyone in America.”

“Nicotine has become a staple of American culture. Juuling has made it so accessible and easy, it’s just an immediate reward system that [is] so accessible to college students,” the student said. “I’m quitting because I didn’t want to develop a long term addiction to it.”

Some students raised the question of whether Juul itself is the problem, or whether it’s a symptom of something even more problematic.

“We don’t know the entirety of the health hazards that Juuling presents, but we are sure that it is better than cigarettes,” first-semester management for engineering and manufacturing major Elijah Taitel said. “So, what happens when you take away juuls from an entire demographic of addicts? Will they resort to cigarettes or other forms of more harmful addictive drugs? And is that, in turn, more hazardous?”

This reasoning is a point of uncertainty for many politicians, such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, who has announced a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes as soon a 2019 after a spike in high school usage from 10.5 to 27.4 percent over the past four years, according The State.

The FDA’s hope is that the restriction will curb youth usage is mirrored in at least some students.

“I juul multiple times a day, mostly mango. The ban will make me stop juuling,” one student who wished to remain anonymous said. “I actually had no clue about the ban.”

Other students were less receptive.

“I juul to make chewing fat with the boys more fun. The FDA’s ban makes me die more and more inside every day,” first-semester finance major Joseph Somma said.

Grace Burns is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at grace.burns@uconn.edu .

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