New Strategy Proposed to Counter Teen Vaping

Lowering nicotine in e-cigs may make vaping less addictive.

October 10, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, has proposed a plan to cap the nicotine levels in e-cigarettes, reports the Washington Examiner.

The plan has been dubbed the Ending Nicotine Dependence from Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Act. It would limit the amount of nicotine in an e-cigarette to 20 milligrams per milliliter of vaping e-liquid, about a third of the 59 milligrams per milliliter contained in a standard JUUL pod. Krishnamoorthi’s proposal would also give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to reduce nicotine further to a minimally addictive or even a nonaddictive level.

“We can and must regulate nicotine levels in potent e-cigarette devices to make vaping less addictive and less appealing to youth,” said Krishnamoorthi. “There’s no other choice.”

The United Kingdom, European Union and Israel enacted similar measures in 2017, capping permissible nicotine content at 5 milligrams per milliliter. Krishnamoorthi said that has helped the U.K. successfully deter an uptick in teen vaping, which amounts to less than 5% of the youth population.

Most proposed or enacted regulations on the federal and state levels have dealt with regulating flavored e-liquids to make them less appealing to young people, most of whom were attracted to the product’s sweet and fruity flavors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 3.15 million teens used flavored tobacco in 2018, and e-cigarette products were the most commonly used.

“By banning flavors, ending youth marketing and regulating the design and function of e-cigarettes, we are on our way to potentially ending this public health epidemic,” Krishnamoorthi said. “But to win this fight we’ll need the continued hard work and support of elected officials, regulators, advocates and folks like you.”