FDA's plan seeks to decrease minor e-cigarette and vape consumption

WSBT 22 photo

It's an effort to crack down on stores that illegally sell e-cigarettes and vapes to minors.

The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) handed out more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to stores across the country.

Three are right here in our area.

The owner of the Deep Food Mart in Goshen was fined $200. They now have a new system on their cash registers to enter the birthdates from I.D.s to ensure the customer is of age.

The Speedway on East Lincolnway in Goshen and Karma Records in Plymouth were also cited.

Those owners didn't want to talk, but a vape shop owner says the recent crackdown affects his store's image, too.

From gas stations to actual Vape Shops, e-cigarettes and vapes are being sold everywhere.

Although they are not supposed to be sold to minors, sometimes they are.

“You have to watch out for kids,” said Louis Robbins, a storeowner. “They will come in and try it and I tell them all the time. They say ‘Well, I don’t have my ID on me' and I say, ‘Well, you can’t be in the store bud.’”

The FDA says youth e-cig use has reached epidemic proportions.

The recent fines are part of a large scale nationwide undercover blitz.

“They have been in here and sometimes you know who they are, but what they do is send in little kids,” said Robbins.

Louis Robbins is the owner of CravinVapes in Goshen. His store was not cited, but with other stores getting in trouble, he says it looks bad on everyone.

“The general public does not know the difference,” said Robbins. “They don’t know the difference between the gas station and a vape shop.”

He says his employees are very strict on checking I.D.s.

The FDA says an adolescent brain is the most vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

“All of their body systems are still developing, including, of course, the brain,” said

Mark Potuck, Tobacco Education Specialist. “The lungs of course are still developing, everybody’s still developing.”

Potuck says minors are more likely to use e-cigarettes than any other form of tobacco. He says he hopes to see positive change come from the FDA's initiative.

“From my perspective, I would just love the FDA to continue to really tighten up things so that youth have less ability to get ahold of the products,” said Potuck.

The undercover blitz was all part of the FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan. It will continue finding ways to try to stop minor e-cig consumption.

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