A lot of juice companies these days rely on gimmicks to sell their product. Whether it is packaging that looks like a milk carton or a whipped cream can, this kind of marketing can be problematic for the vape industry because ultimately this packaging appeals to kids. For juice companies who stay away from this, this kind of flashy style can give the whole industry a bad name and lead to an FDA crack down. So when the FDA sent warning letters to 13 different manufacturers on Tuesday regarding their packaging, was anyone really surprised?
FDA commissioner Scott Gottleib said that these modes of packaging appeals to children due to their resemblance to cookies, candy, and juice boxes. And honestly, that is kind of true. But this mode of thinking is a blanket opinion that clouds the whole industry, when in reality it is a small minority of vape juice companies who are participating in this irresponsible marketing. Gottleib is quoted as saying, “You look at the lollipop for example. I don’t see how my 4- or 5-year-old doesn’t just look at that and see a lollipop. It’s a lollipop.”
FDA Crack Down Part of Larger Effort
He claims that this marketing is deliberately targeting children. This is probably a stretch. I don’t think any vape company wants that liability. Although obviously this packaging is problematic, I highly doubt these companies want children as consumers. The issue comes about when children under 6 come across these vape juices and get into them — thinking they are treats. Then the children are exposed to high levels of nicotine and must be hospitalized — a potentially deadly situation.
All of these efforts are part of a larger campaign to target the industry and prevent it from creating younger consumers. The FDA insists that when teenagers become vapers, it eventually leads to smoking. This letter they sent is supposedly just the start of the FDA crack down.
The letter comes on the heels of an all-out blitz against retailers selling JUUL products in their stores. The FDA sent warning letters to 40 stores for selling the pod system to minors. It’s funny because JUUL’s packaging is so basic — no one can say it is targeting children or teens. And yet it is the most popular device in that age group right now.
So what’s next from the FDA? Only time will tell. For now, as an industry, we just have to follow marketing codes and be as responsible as possible.
*Any opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author and are not affiliated with Mt Baker Vapor*
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