It’s not only teens who are addicted.

Inside the FDA’s Crackdown on E-cigarettes

and why it won’t stop teens (or anyone else) from vaping

Keri Savoca
6 min readJan 11, 2019


The FDA recently issued a stern warning to Juul, Myle, and other e-cigarette manufacturers, as well as hundreds of online and brick-and-mortar retailers, alleging that they didn’t do enough to keep their products out of the hands of teenagers.

“Make no mistake. We see the possibility for ENDS products like e-cigarettes and other novel forms of nicotine-delivery to provide a potentially less harmful alternative for currently addicted individual adult smokers who still want to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine without many of the harmful effects that come with the combustion of tobacco. But we’ve got to step in to protect our kids.” (FDA, April 24, 2018)

On the bright side, data collected from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (summarized here by Time) shows that more and more teens are repulsed by cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs than ever before.

But they’re vaping at record rates.

A few months after issuing the first warning, the FDA gave Juul (and a few other manufacturers) 60 days to prepare action plans, describing exactly what they intended to do to keep their products out of the hands of teens. “If they fail to do so,” the FDA stated, “or if the plans do not appropriately address this issue, the FDA will consider whether it would be appropriate to revisit the current policy that results in these products remaining on the market without a marketing order from the agency” (FDA, September 12, 2018).

In response, Juul (allegedly) stopped selling its flavored pods at convenience stores and delis, offering these products only at authorized vape shops and through their online store. Myle allegedly stopped distributing its products altogether back in November of 2018.

But is this really keeping teenagers from getting their hands on Juul pods?

Not really. I say “allegedly” because I can still get flavored Juul pods and the “discontinued” Myle pods without going too far out of my way. I can:

  • go to pretty much any convenience store in New York, where owners seemed to have planned ahead and purchased flavored pods in bulk (one store I go…