FDA takes action against e-cigarette epidemic among youth

FDA takes action against e-cigarette epidemic among youth

Of the 3.6 million middle and high school students who said in 2017 they were tobacco product users, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes, Bloomberg reports, citing CDC stats.

"We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people", he added.

"The vast majority of the violations were for the illegal sale of five e-cigarette products - Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL, and Logic".

Gottlieb said the FDA recognized the impact this might have on adults trying to stop smoking, but said that emerging research on how flavored products encourage excessive use by young people shows action must be taken.

"If a kid comes in, even over 18, and I ask him, 'Have you ever smoked a cigarette?' He says, 'No.' 'Did you ever Vape before?' He goes, 'No.' Then I'll tell him, 'Why do you want to start?'" Lee said.

On the other side of the public health ledger, there is little reason to think that restricting information about ENDS, making them less cool, or banning e-liquid flavors would reduce morbidity and mortality among today's adolescents, either now or in the future. His group and several others are suing the FDA over a decision to delay federal review of most e-cigarettes.

"The agency is asking each company to submit to FDA within 60 days plans describing how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products", the FDA said in a release. But it's not clear how quickly the decision could be reversed.

The FDA's suggestions include rigorous age verification procedures for online direct sales (which Juul, the market leader, says it already has) and "discontinuing sales to retail establishments that have been subject to an FDA civil monetary penalty for sale of tobacco products to minors within the prior 12 months".

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Shares of Big Tobacco companies surged in trading Wednesday.

Watch Altria and British American Tobacco trade in real time here. "By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, and we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission".

The FDA also announced 1,300 warning letters and fines to online and traditional stores that have illegally sold Juul and other e-cigarettes to minors. The company has more than two-thirds of the USA e-cigarette market, according to Nielsen data.

Gottlieb called the action the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the agency's history.

While e-cigarettes were first marketed to help adults quit smoking combustible cigarettes, they have now become a gateway to nicotine for teenagers.

And some of the retailers that received warning letters are still advertising and selling these products, he said.

The FDA moves come as it seeks to balance its approach on e-cigarettes, which can be used to wean lifelong smokers onto less harmful nicotine products, but also risk drawing a new generation to nicotine addiction.

"In my view, they treated these issues like a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations, the public health mandate and the existential threat to these products, and as they did, these risks have mounted", Gottlieb said.

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