U.S. government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

Leslie Hanson
September 14, 2018

Regulators are considering restricting e-cigarette manufacturers from selling flavored nicotine liquid or forcing the products to undergo an agency review, as reported by CNBC.

However, he seemed reluctant to give up on flavored nicotine, because he said it appeals to adult cigarette smokers.

In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, created to address some of the known public health risks, such as flavors, that contribute to adolescent use of e-cigarettes.

That, in essence, is why the makers of some e-cigarette brands saw their stocks jump Wednesday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a crackdown on the products over concerns about how popular they've become among children. Although the FDA had acted in May to limit the sale of such products, they were still being offered, with the offending labeling and advertising, by the 12 online retailers, several of whom were also cited for sales to minors.

The agency plans to issue data showing "substantial increase" in youth using e-cigarettes - otherwise known as vaping - this year compared with 2017.

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' president Matthew Myers, the FDA has made a crucial step toward curtailing youth use of e-cigarettes.

As a result of these law violations, and the epidemic proportions to today's American youth, the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said that the agency is taking new and significant steps to address this challenge.

As of September 1, the FDA said it has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law, and initiated 18,560 civil money penalty cases in its checks of retail establishments selling tobacco products.


The FDA has also been revamping its regulation on tobacco, including lowering the amount of nicotine in conventional cigarettes. "But in closing the on-ramp for kids, we're going to have to narrow the on-ramp for adults".

The agency will also be increasing federal enforcement actions on e-cig sales to minors in convenience stores and other retail sites, Gottlieb said, and would look closely at a practice called "straw purchases", in which adults visit web-based stores and buy in bulk to resell to minors.

In its bid to wean adult smokers from traditional cigarettes, the agency has sought to make a wider range of "reduced risk" tobacco products available to consumers. 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.

Under Wednesday's announcement, the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to reverse underage use of their products. They noted the survey did not ask specifically about Juul, a sleek, heavily-marketed e-cigarette brand that exploded onto the market and accounts for 70 percent of US sales, according to analyst estimates. It was "the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA's history", according to the agency.

The action is part of the FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan announced in April.

The press released called on the FDA to immediately begin "requiring all e-cigarettes and other newly deemed tobacco products to go through the premarket review process required in the Tobacco Control Act, and removing all flavored tobacco products from the marketplace".

Despite the fact that they can not legally be sold to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes - hand-held vaporizers that create aerosols from liquids typically packed with nicotine and other chemicals, often including flavorings - are now the most popular tobacco product among high school students, recent federal data shows. "These Juuls are at 60 milligrams, so it's extremely high in nicotine, and it's causing them to become more addicted".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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