A decade or so ago, vaping came onto the national scene, but was predominantly billed as a means of ending the great bane of smoking tobacco.


That hasn’t exactly panned out on the plus side. Sure, some adults made the switch from cigarettes to vaping, but about as many young people were picking up vaping.


Most e-cigarettes are loaded with nicotine. Many scientists believe they’re as habit-forming as cigarettes — they just won’t stink up the family sedan when the teens borrow it.


What few of us would have imagined back then was pushing e-cigarettes to teens would become a multi-billion dollar business.


While vaping companies say they’re not targeting teens, their products say different. Who would attempt to woo adult smokers with flavored vapes in Cotton Candy, Lava Flow, Candy Crash, blue Razz, Mango and Froot Loops?


State Rep. Jackie Toledo came surprisingly close to pushing through a youth-vaping bill last session. Because of the more recent stories about kids stricken with all manner of illness and even death, she believes she may be successful in 2020.


It would raise the minimum purchase age from 18 to 21 and ban the use of flavorings.


Toledo says, according to her research, one in four Florida high school students used an e-cigarette in 2018. “That’s a 58 percent increase from the previous year,” she told news sources.


The Washington Post reported this week about David Kessler, who was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a constant burr under the saddle of big tobacco in the 1990s. It was under his leadership the FDA declared nicotine addictive. And that made the business of doing business infinitely tougher on tobacco companies.


He’s been out of the fight, or at least not out front of it, for years. But a few months back he was a speaker at an anti-tobacco conference and offered up his idea for curbing smoking and vaping in youth.


His answer? The Sudafed model. The popular decongestant contains pseudoephedrine. Some enterprising junkies discovered it could be used to make methamphetamines. The feds stepped quickly in with a plan to keep meth chefs from cooking the stuff.


Today if you want an over-counter drug such as Sudafed, that’s where you’ll have to get it — over the counter. Now only the cardboard label is picked up off the shelves and surrendered to the pharmacist, who disperses the drug after verifying the age of the purchaser.


Kessler says do the same with vaping oils and paraphernalia.


The sale of vaping oils or devices would be outlawed in gas stations and head shops where, we might believe, Bubba or Moon Glow behind the counters might be less objective in their scrutiny of buyers’ credentials.


The simple plan would severely curtail youth access to e-cigarettes without hindering the reported 34 million adults who want to vape. There is no shortage of pharmacies open in the civilized world today.


We like it.


The St. Augustine Record