E-cigarette use is an 'epidemic', FDA chief says

Leslie Hanson
September 14, 2018

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, citing an "epidemic" of use among teens. It's simply not tolerable.

The FDA is giving the five top-selling e-cigarette brands - Juul Labs Inc., Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu, and Logic - 60 days to provide plans for how they will mitigate sales to minors.

In its enforcement action, the FDA recently sent nearly 1,200 letters to brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers warning them that they could face penalties for allegedly selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. The value of all sales reached $2.35 billion in 2016. Flavored e-cigarettes are said to be a tool that helps adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, the main example of a plus the product can claim.

"We welcome FDA's action today and look forward to sharing our thoughts about how to prevent and reduce youth use, an issue we have focused on for decades", Altria spokesman George Parman said in a statement.

"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement. It was "the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA's history", according to the agency. "We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine", they said.

Tobacco investors have grown increasingly concerned that the widespread popularity of e-cigarettes is having a negative impact on the old-school industry, a headwind expected to grow as its products from companies like Juul continue gaining traction with consumers. "In the coming weeks, we'll take additional action under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to immediately address the youth access to, and the appeal of, these products".

"In addition, today the FDA also issued 12 warning letters to other online retailers that are selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies".

Budding research on e-cigarettes also suggests that these flavors contain terpenes that may be more damaging to the lungs than other flavors are.


He said the FDA move could "represent a fundamental turning point" if the agency requires "all of these products undergo premarket review now, not four years from now".

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said that e-cigarettes, while still harmful, may be effective for adults who want to give up cigarette smoking, which kills nearly half a million Americans each year.

The agency said it plans to unveil a new e-cigarette public education campaign targeted to youth next week, and will soon announce wider access to new nicotine replacement therapies to help more adult smokers quit cigarettes.

Juul e-cigs are available with 3 percent nicotine and 5 percent nicotine - about a much as pack of cigarettes, according to its website.

The Vapor Technology Association, which says it represents over 600 vaping manufacturers and distributors, also supports limiting teen access, but added that the new actions by the FDA ventured "into risky territory" by not being in the best interest of public health.

"Our mission is to improve the lives of adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes", Juul said in a statement.

The FDA has also been revamping its regulation on tobacco, including lowering the amount of nicotine in conventional cigarettes.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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