The Battle Over Teenage Vaping

The Battle Over Teenage Vaping

Ty Marceaux, the manager of Rock N’ Roll It, a vape shop in the Heights area, Houston, once offered a variety of fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine cartridges. However, new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) forced him to stop selling these flavors to prevent underaged vaping. While the crackdown aimed to curb the rise of teenage vaping, it did not stop business entirely. Instead, the shop adapted its products and continued to thrive. This article delves into the world of vaping, exploring the impact of regulations and the challenges faced by the industry.

The Federal Crackdown and Its Limited Effect

Despite the FDA's efforts to regulate fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine cartridges, vape shops like Rock N’ Roll It were still able to offer refillable vaping devices, fruit-flavored vape juice bottles, and single-use disposable e-cigarettes with candy flavors. While some health officials criticized the limited ban, calling it ineffective against the so-called “epidemic” of teenage vaping, others saw it as a step in the right direction.

The Rise of Teenage Vaping

Vaping products are projected to constitute about 30 percent of nicotine sales by 2025, indicating a substantial increase compared to less than 10 percent in 2019. Unfortunately, this growth is accompanied by an alarming surge in teenage vaping. More than 5 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 10 middle school students, reported using e-cigarettes last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Appeal of Cartridge-based E-cigarettes

Cartridge-based e-cigarettes, like Juul, have gained popularity among teenagers due to their affordability and concealable size. However, these devices contain a high level of nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can lead to various health issues, including sleep disruptions, mood swings, and birth defects among pregnant smokers.

Efforts to Curb Underage Vaping

Governments at all levels have taken various measures to combat underage vaping. The FDA introduced childproof caps on vape liquid bottles and mandated prominent nicotine warnings on vape products. Furthermore, they raised the minimum age for purchasing e-cigarettes to 21 and enforced strict age verification for online sales. States and cities, such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and San Francisco, have also outlawed flavored vaping products.

The Struggle for Vape Shops

The vaping industry faced a significant challenge when President Donald Trump proposed a total ban on all flavored vaping products. Vape shops, especially small mom-and-pop establishments, were concerned about the potential closure and loss of jobs. However, after pushback from the industry, the Trump administration rolled out a limited ban on flavored e-cigarette cartridges.

Vapewell Supply's Perspective

Vapewell Supply, a vape juice manufacturer in northwest Houston, feared the consequences of a full vaping ban. However, they welcomed regulations that ensured their products didn't end up in the hands of teenagers. Vapewell's focus on adult customers seeking to quit smoking distinguishes them from the products favored by teenagers.

Rock N’ Roll It's Adaptation

In anticipation of the flavor ban, Rock N’ Roll It proactively adjusted its inventory, removing Juul products, and focusing on refillable tanks and other alternatives. The shop diversified its merchandise to include glass pipes, hookahs, and CBD products.

Consumer Response and Personal Responsibility

With the flavor ban in effect, some e-cigarette users shifted to mint-flavored cartridges or disposable e-cigarettes. However, users like Ruben Salazar, a Houston truck driver, continue to use tank-style e-cigarettes and emphasize the importance of individual responsibility when choosing vaping products.


The battle against teenage vaping continues with federal regulations attempting to strike a balance between curbing underage usage and preserving the vape industry. The impact of such regulations is felt both by vape shops and manufacturers. While the journey remains challenging, the need to protect the younger generation from the dangers of vaping persists.



1. Are fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine cartridges banned by the FDA?Yes, under new FDA regulations, fruit- and candy-flavored nicotine cartridges have been banned to curb underaged vaping.

2. How did Rock N’ Roll It cope with the flavor ban?Rock N’ Roll It adapted its offerings by focusing on refillable vaping devices, fruit-flavored vape juice bottles, and single-use disposable e-cigarettes with candy flavors.

3. Are all e-cigarettes equally harmful to teenagers?Cartridge-based e-cigarettes, like Juul, are popular among teenagers due to their affordability and concealable size, but they contain a high level of nicotine, making them more harmful.

4. Did the flavor ban affect Vapewell Supply?Vapewell Supply, a vape juice manufacturer, feared a full vaping ban but welcomed regulations that ensure their products don't reach teenagers. They primarily cater to adult customers looking to quit smoking.

5. How did Rock N’ Roll It prepare for the regulations?Rock N’ Roll It stopped carrying Juul products, stocked up on refillable tank products, and diversified its merchandise to include glass pipes, hookahs, and CBD products.