FDA to limit sales of flavored e-cigarettes

Lloyd Doyle
November 16, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday followed through on a rumored plan to significantly restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to keep young users away from tobacco products.

NewscomToday Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who has been talking for months about an "epidemic" of underage vaping, finally released the survey data to which he was referring, along with his agency's plan to reverse the trends that trouble him.

The move represents a major step to further push down US smoking rates, which have been falling for decades.

This breaking news story will be updated.

E-cigarettes were created to give adult smokers a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the products have become popular among kids and teenagers.

The landmark move comes as data showed menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars are often marketed towards African-Americans and minors. We're seeing a generation of kids become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. But many versions contain potentially addictive nicotine, and health officials believe they set kids who try them on a path toward regular cigarettes. He also proposed beefing up measures so that convenience stores and some other retailers don't sell e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors like cherry and vanilla. That is not striking a balance, since it could justify removing e-cigarettes from the market entirely, which would prevent teenagers from using them but also prevent smokers from switching to them, resulting in more smoking-related morbidity and mortality. They could still be sold in vape shops or other businesses that do not admit minors.

Smoking is the nation's leading cause of preventable illness, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States. He said menthol e-cigarettes may be an option for adults who turn to vaping products to quit regular cigarettes and he decided not to push for an end to menthol flavoring in vaping products.

"The banning of flavors, popular among teens, would definitely be an important step in curbing the growing epidemic of e-cigarettes among youth", said Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control at Northwell Health, a network of hospitals in NY.


In 2009, the government banned a number of kid-friendly flavorings in cigarettes. But there is no reason to believe that group is large enough to justify Gottlieb's fear that "all the great gains that we've made in this country [in] reducing smoking rates.will be reversed or lost if we can't address the youth use of e-cigarettes".

Any move to ban menthol is expected to face fierce resistance from the tobacco industry. Smoking rates among teenagers have continued to decline as e-cigarette use has surged, and that may be more than a coincidence.

Menthol cigarettes represent more than 30 percent of USA cigarette volumes and approximately 55 percent of British American Tobacco Plc's US volumes, through its Newport brand, according to a research note from AllianceBernstein earlier this week.

Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said "it is widely recognized that e-cigarettes are the gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes for teens and young adults". "By impeding adult access to life-saving flavored e-cigarettes, FDA is restricting the millions of adult smokers from living healthier lives". The concurrent increase among middle school students was 48 percent.

E-cigarette use among high school students grew 78 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey. One of the most popular devices, made by San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc, has become a phenomenon at US high schools, where "Juuling" has become synonymous with vaping.

The proposed restriction on e-cigarette sales would not cover tobacco-, mint- or menthol-flavored products.

JUUL flavors such as mango, fruit, and creme will now only be available on the company's website, "where we are adding additional age-verification measures", a statement said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER