Federal government not concerned for youth health, safety

FDA’s ban of marketing Juul products in convenience stores, fruit flavored pods inferior to gun violence issue facing America

Emma Pulaski

More stories from Emma Pulaski

Beyond the Game
December 17, 2018

Despite the purchasing age restriction of 18 and above, Juuls have been a trend circulating throughout high school students. The sleek-designed e-cigarette has taken over and raised much debate. According to truthinitiative.org, nearly one in five students report that they have seen a Juul used on school property. This underage vaping has led to the federal government placing restrictions such as location of selling and products available, stating that using a Juul is harmful to youth health.

Another problematic recurrence that can be seen on school property are guns. As of Oct. 4, 2018, there have been 65 school shootings across the United States this year.  With that, you would believe that restrictions are fighting to be rightfully enforced. However, it seems that the federal government is more concerned with teens being exposed to the 5 percent nicotine contained in a Juul pod.

According to businessinsider.com, Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined. For instance, you have 1 in 370 chance of death from an assault of a firearm, while the chance of death for riding in car during an accident is 1 in 536. 11,000 people in the U.S. are involved in firearm assaults each year. Guns are tools solely used for defense, harm, or killing, and students are bringing such tools to school to cause chaos, injure or murder their peers. Students should not have to worry about their safety inside a building meant for growing and learning.

Only a few short months after the Juul epidemic spread through high schools, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made a surprise visit to Juul’s headquarters for an investigation. Not long after, Juul Labs announced they will stop selling their products at convenience stores and will be taking fruit flavors off the market in hopes to subtly wane teenagers away. On the contrary, a teenager’s desire to make headlines by bringing a weapon to school seems to be rapidly increasing.

School shootings have been occurring longer than juuls have been around, yet no significant changes to prevent such tragedies have been made. Without proper reforms, mass shootings are becoming deadlier and more frequent.

While Juul has unessentially put in an effort to restrict their sales, federal rules to obtain a gun are still quite simple. The loopholes one can go through and the overall ease to obtain a gun is startling. Federal rules state that those 21 or older can buy a handgun from a local gun store. For those between 18 and 21, you can obtain a handgun through private sales, which means you would not have to pass a background check. To buy a long gun, no permit is required; however, you need to get a background check completed. Despite these mediocre rules, kids can still get guns from family members or friends.

To buy Juul products, more verification will be needed to buy on their website, which some will now resort to since they can no longer conveniently buy them in gas stations. Buyers who seek to purchase online will have to be 21 or older and provide considerable evidence that you are who you claim to be.

To restrict e-cigarettes from high schoolers while there are far worse things making its way into school buildings seems insensitive and obstructive. There is a vast difference in death rates and affliction between juuling and school shootings. There is a much more pressing issue concerning youth safety to attend to, that the federal government needs to stop ignoring.