U.S. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi announced new legislation on Oct. 7 that would limit nicotine concentrations in e-cigarette products.
Krishnamoorthi’s new bill announced Monday has a complicated name: Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Act (END ENDS Act).
The bill limits nicotine content in e-cigarette to less than 20 mg per milliliter, which greatly reduces its addiction and appeal to young people. At the same time, according to the legislation, FDA can also amend the standard.
The move follows European Union and other regulations, and many countries with legal e-cigarettes have capped 20 mg of nicotine per milliliter of e-liquid.
In the United States, where there is no specific cap standard, some brands contain several times as much nicotine: for example, in JUUL cigarette carts, the nicotine content per milliliter is as much as 59 milligrams.
JUUL came to the UK with much less nicotine in the same product. (9mg/ml and 18mg/ml)
When JUUL began selling 5% nicotine in the United States in 2015, the nicotine content of most electronic cigarette products on the market was generally between 1% and 2%. JUUL insists that a 5% cartridge is intended to replace a pack of cigarettes in terms of the number of suctions and the strength of nicotine.
Because of JUUL’s commercial success and influence in the industry, many brands have followed suit, greatly improving the nicotine content of products, some as high as 5% – 7%.
Experts believe that high concentrations of nicotine play an important role in the so-called “young people’s e-cigarette epidemic”. According to data released by the FDA in September 2019, 27.5% of high school students are e-cigarette users, up from 20.8% in 2018 and 11.7% in 2017.
Krishnamoorthi said in a statement: “As a parent who is worried about the current situation, I am committed to preventing the next generation from becoming addicted to nicotine. The regulation of nicotine concentration in e-cigarettes is to completely end the spread of e-cigarettes among young people by reducing the addiction of these products, reducing the attraction of adolescents, and reducing the threat to public health.
Generally speaking, although the rich flavors attract children, nicotine is still the main culprit of children’s repeated use, making electronic cigarettes a lifelong addiction and habit.
Experts say that in recent years, nicotine concentration in e-cigarettes has increased, partly due to the emergence of new technologies called nicotine salts.
By cleverly combining chemicals with organic acids, nicotine salt masks the unpleasant bitter taste of nicotine naturally, and can be absorbed by the body more quickly to achieve the effect of addiction relief.
In an interview with Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical reporter last month, Dr Anne Schuchat, the chief deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said: “The nicotine content in electronic cigarettes on the market recently is very high, and the nicotine salt added to the new generation of electronic cigarettes will make the products more delicious. All of these can promote addiction.”
More and more states, such as Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts, have taken practical action to crack down on e-liquids and aerosolized products.
Despite the endorsement of the bill by some public health advocates, Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said in a statement that the public health paradox facing JUUL is that the stimulus of high nicotine does help many adult smokers quit smoking, but it is also responsible for young people’s attempts and even abuse.
Widespread bans will only encourage black and grey markets to sell irregular products and interest young people in illegal THC products. Control and restriction of nicotine content can be part of the FDA’s reform to regulate electronic cigarette products, but in these discussions, we should not forget that some former smokers, relying on nicotine substitutes, have maintained their non-re-exposure to cigarettes.