The Food and Drug Administration wants to see e-cigarette makers limit vaping among kids, and the agency is considering fast-tracking reviews of features that would make the devices harder for underage fans to use, CNBC reports.
Some of those features reportedly could include Bluetooth capabilities that would effectively fence schools as no-vaping zones and biometric e-cigarettes locked to particular users so kids can’t, for instance, “borrow” their parents’ vaporizers.
If such features become widespread, it could soon be harder to light up an e-cig in a school than to fire a gun. Efforts to produce so-called smart guns with fingerprint locks or other authentication mechanisms have largely been stymied by firearm users concerned that the technology may be dangerously unreliable in an emergency and that traditional guns might be eliminated once smart weapons are available. In a SEC filing this month, American gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson said it does not invest in researching smart gun technology because it doesn’t believe consumers want it, Bloomberg reported.
The FDA last week told vape giants Juul, Vuse (owned by British American Tobacco), MarkTen (owned by Philip Morris USA parent Altria), Blu E-cigs (from British tobacco giant Imperial Brands), and Logic (a unit of Japan Tobacco) to outline plans within 60 days to keep kids and teens from using their products.
“No youth should be using any nicotine-containing product, and the trends underway are more than a small amount of casual experimentation among kids,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. “They are evidence of a significant swath of a generation of kids becoming regular users of nicotine.”
The FDA plans to advertise to kids online, warning of the dangers of vaping, and distribute anti-vaping posters to high schools. It has also warned and fined retailers that sold e-cigs to underage users and warned manufacturers they might be required to pull some kid-friendly flavors from the market.
Juul, said to be among the most popular brands for underage users, has always said its e-cigs are designed to help adult smokers quit using traditional cigarettes. The company has announced plans for Bluetooth-enabled devices that could help users track how much nicotine they’re consuming and potentially require users to periodically verify their ages to continue vaping.