The FDA said it is cracking down hard on sales of vaping products to teenagers and might consider taking e-cigarettes off the market completely if makers don’t do more to stop exponential sales to teenagers.

One e-cigarette company (take a look – Juul) created devices that look like USB drives. The site includes pictures of young, healthy, and hip people vaping. Teens can’t legally purchase e-cigarettes, but find ways to do so, and these devices can easily be hidden from teachers and parents.

Vaping remains controversial. Many companies have included e-cigarettes in tobacco free policies, yet vaping remains a serious issue. Many adults try vaping to quit cigarettes, but vaping is still nicotine and leads to nicotine addiction for new users, of which teens are extremely vulnerable.

Our recommendations are to revise tobacco free policies to clearly reflect the company stance. It’s important for Human Resource and Occupational Health professionals to continue to remain abreast of the situation and update the company policy as new data emerges. We also strongly suggest that educational information be provided to employees since the e-cigarette manufacturers are widely publicizing promotional materials – including to teens and young adults. It is therefore important that factual information from third party credible sources be disseminated to ensure that employees are making informed decisions as wise consumers.

One thing is certain, regardless of the controversy many are seeking alternatives to tobacco use and many teens are now vaping. Therefore, initiatives to educate and support those who wish to quit tobacco continue to be essential components for wellness programs, as does information for parents to prevent teen addiction to nicotine. E-cigs are an epidemic. Contact us for wellness program support and ideas!