First e-cigarette to earn FDA approval in the US

One brand of e-cig gets approval, but that doesn’t mean the 6.2 million other applications will

Photo Courtesy | Anne Kesler
Young adults man takes a hit from his vape.

On Oct. 12, The Food and Drug Administration announced their approval of British American Tobacco to allow it’s Vuse Solo e-cigarettes to continue selling in the United States.

According to CNBC News, this marks the first e-cigarette brand to be approved in the U.S. However, the approval doesn’t extend to some flavored products under the Vuse Solo Brand.

Vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs) and e-pipes are some of the many terms used to describe electronic nicotine delivery systems. These products use an “e-liquid” that may contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and other ingredients.

In Aug. 2016, the regulatory authority of the FDA was extended to cover e-cigarettes through the agency’s deeming rule.

The FDA plans to review 6.5 million applications from about 500 companies. For smaller suppliers like Great American Vapes, tens of thousands of applications have been denied due to the flavored vaping products, specifically the tastes that appeal to teens and those under 21.

Decisions for brands like Juul, the most popular e-cigarette at one point, are still pending. The company switched from selling fruit flavors in 2019 to its current tobacco and menthol flavor.

Usage among young adults

Federal data from 2019 found that more than 1 in 4 high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, up from 11.7% just two years prior. According to the CDC, 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle schoolers reported current use of e-cigs.

According to the 2020 North Dakota Student Wellness and Perceptions Survey, in the prior 30 days:

  • 5.40% of NDSU students used vaping/e-cigarettes on 1-2 days.
  • 3.20% used vaping/e-cigarettes on 10-19 days, 1.40% used vaping/e-cigarettes on 20-29 days.
  • and 4.40% used vaping/e-cigarettes on all 30 days.

Of those reporting having ever used vaping/e-cigarettes, 41.80% reported first using vaping/e-cigarettes from 18-20 years old. claims that there are three top reasons as to why young adults are drawn to the new technology. Wanting to experiment is the top reason, followed by the liking of flavors and lastly they are able to hide them easier in places that don’t allow their use, such as school classrooms, bathrooms, and other places around campus.

Emily Hegg, the Assistant Director of Health Promotion at NDSU Student Health Service, consulted with the Tobacco Cessation Coordinator with the North Dakota Tobacco Prevention and Control Program on the effects of ENDS.

“Frequent use of these products can lead to negative effects in the lungs and heart. Short-term effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, but using tobacco also affects one’s sense of taste and smell. Tobacco products negatively affect lung functions, one of them being the body’s first defenses against bacteria and respiratory viruses. Nicotine exposure can affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention and mood.”

“Often studies promoted are about switching from a combustible cigarette to an ENDS/vape. Switching isn’t quitting,” said NDSU Student Health Service. “The addiction remains — only the device has changed.”
There are no long-term studies on ENDS use because not enough time has passed, and the devices and e-liquids are constantly changing.

Despite the FDA’s approval of some Vuse Solo products, Student Health Service’s stance toward e-cigarette use does not change. NDSU’s policy 153 Smoke-Free Facilities prohibits both e-cigarette (vaping) and smoking on NDSU grounds and University buildings, residence halls, apartments and enclosed structures.

Who to reach out to for help and steps you can take to stop your addiction

NDSU’s Student Health Service pushes students to utilize the services they offer.

“If students are ready to quit tobacco or are wanting to learn more about their options, Student Health Service has Tobacco Treatment Specialists who can help students along the cessation journey,” Hegg said.

Specialists can provide education and guidance, discuss Nicotine Replacement Therapy and connect students to NDQuits. Students can call (701) 231-7331 or schedule an appointment on the Student Health Portal.

“No one needs to quit alone — there is help,” Hegg said.

There are also opportunities to seek help through peer educators who coordinate education and opportunities on campus for students to learn about and encourage cessation of e-cigarettes, vaping, tobacco, chew and all forms of nicotine use.

For those who do not wish to seek help, Healthline offers nine steps to quit vaping.

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