FDA Considering Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes

Ivan Schwartz
September 16, 2018

Last Wednesday's announcement by the Food and Drug Administration ordering Juul Labs and other makes of e-cigarettes to devise ways to keep their product out of the hands of minors may have been overdue, but it's welcome nonetheless.

These levels of nicotine are highly addictive, particularly to the developing brains of children and teenagers.

The FDA said it would consider requiring brands to remove flavored products, which could be contributing to the rise in youth e-cigarette use. The academy said Gottlieb has the authority to intervene in the market to protect minors, and any further delay runs the risk that "a generation of young people will become addicted to these risky products".

"We are evaluating [the] request and statement from the FDA".

Five of the biggest e-cigarette manufacturers - JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, and Logic - must also report to the agency within 60 days with plans to address the concerns, or face penalties, it said.

But, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb believes JUUL has long treated the issues of teen nicotine addiction like a "public relations challenge" rather than seriously considering their legal obligations and public health mandate that these products bring.

Still, the FDA may yet follow suit - if they are willing to recognize and respect scientific research, which is far from a certainty in this administration. But look at what's happening right now, on our watch and on their watch.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said the steps announced by Gottlieb "have the potential to make a fundamental difference". Their popularity is rising "very sharply", Gottlieb said: In 2017, more than 2 million middle and high school students acknowledged they were current users of vaping products, according to the Monitoring the Future survey.

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"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", JUUL said Wednesday. They're generally considered a less risky alternative to regular cigarettes. Critics have charged the agency has been working too slowly to regulate the devices. "Inevitably what we are going to have to contemplate are actions that may narrow the off-ramp for adults who see e-cigarettes as a viable alternative to combustible tobacco in order to close the on-ramp for kids", he told reporters.

It marks a shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes. About two-thirds of them quit after beginning to use Juul.

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Officials say to date, the problem of underage use is at "epidemic proportions". He's in the studio now.

STEIN: Yeah, so the FDA announced what it's calling a major escalation of its battle against vaping by kids. Those products could include e-cigarettes, though the FDA has not given any company permission to advertise its device as a quit-smoking aid.

A "ancient" actionGottlieb launched the agency despatched 1, a hundred warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors below the age of 18, and issued 131 fines to stores that continued to violate the limitations on gross sales to minors. Regulators said it was the largest coordinated crackdown in the agency's history. I smoked for 15 years.

"There's a general perception out there that e-cigarettes are safe And they're certainly not safe." says Leslie Phillips.

If the FDA isn't happy with the responses, it will reconsider whether it will continue to allow those e-cigarette products on the market before the companies file applications with the FDA. They also ordered five e-cigarette brands, including vaping giant JUUL, to submit plans to address teen use of their products.

Flavors other than menthol have been banned since 2009 in regular cigarettes to reduce their appeal to young people.

Other reports by GizPress

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