ST. PAUL, Minn. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring new warning labels on e-cigarettes beginning August 10.
The labels read, “WARNING: this product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”
In Minnesota, the FDA required labels signify a victory for advocacy groups working to stop the skyrocketing nicotine use among kids, especially when it comes to e-cigarettes.
“We found a lot of people were not aware there was nicotine in these, and that nicotine is, in fact, an addictive substance,” said Emily Anderson, a program director with the Association of Non-Smokers-Minnesota.
Last year, the Minnesota Youth Tobacco Survey showed that for the first time in 17 years, tobacco use among youth has surged, with more than 26 percent of high school students using tobacco products, in part because of the explosion of e-cigarettes, and the marketing of the products enticing to youth. The majority of students – 88 percent – reported they have seen ads promoting e-cigarettes.
Anderson points to the popularity of the JUUL and Suorin e-cigarette products, with the sleek, technology inspired designs enticing to teens. She believes the new warning labels are one wake-up call more work needs to be done.
“For instance, raising the tobacco sales age to 21, restricting the sale of flavored tobacco and making sure tobacco isn’t' cheap. We know that flavors and low prices appeal to young people,” said Anderson. “So, you are signing up for potentially a lifelong addiction by using this product.”
So far, eleven Minnesota communities have raised the age of tobacco sales to 21, including Edina, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Plymouth, North Mankato, Falcon Heights, Shoreview, Minneapolis, St. Peter, Richfield and Roseville.