In the last decade, the world saw many new innovations from electric cars to e-cigarettes. The latter of these has since caused unintended consequences such as a rise in young people vaping and an outbreak of lung injuries.
In January 2010, a judge issued an injunction preventing the FDA from seizing e-cigarette devices as drugs or drug devices. In December of that year, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled the FDA could only regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products.
In 2011, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine published a study that found e-cigarettes may be a promising method for smokers to quit.
In October of 2012, the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association (AEMSA) was launched with the intention of maintaining self-regulating standards for e-cigarette manufacturers.
The next few years saw new vapor products and organizations dedicated to getting smokers to switch to vaping. Also during this period, members of Congress called on e-cigarette companies to give explanations for marketing to youth. This came after a press release from the Center for Disease Control outlining a spike in young people using vaping products.
Lawmakers continued to push for more regulation on vaping products, including large warning labels on the packaging of the products. In 2016, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act was signed by President Barack Obama, granting these packaging standards.
However, by then many young people had already been introduced to vaping products. One FSU student said he started vaping when he was 18. At first, he had a large "box mod" device but eventually switched to a Juul.
He said the Juul, known for its simple design and resemblance to a USB flash drive, is popular because of how portable it is, making it convenient for on-the-go usage. This device has also been criticized for promoting the increase in young people vaping.
"Because it's so portable, and you can hit it inside and people won't know," the FSU student said. "You really just have to control yourself more as opposed to letting the vape limit where you can use it.”
JUUL Labs has responded to these allegations by discontinuing their social media usage on Facebook and Instagram and suspending non-menthol flavored JUULpods.
"Youth use of vapor products is detrimental to Juul Labs' mission, and to our business," said an article on Juul's website. "Our target market is the one billion existing adult smokers globally.”
Recently, the U.S. officials raised the age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. President Donald Trump has said he hopes it will lead to fewer young people using these products.