To restrict e-cigarette flavors to fight teenage vaping 'epidemic'

Ivan Schwartz
November 12, 2018

As soon as next week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is poised to announce bans on sales of most flavored e-cigarettes at tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to The Washington Post, in an attempt to curb the epidemic from growing.

The agency also plans to require age-verification measures for online sales to try to ensure that minors are not able to buy the flavor pods.

A senior FDA official said details of the ban would be announced next week, and that menthol and mint flavors would be exempt, The New York Times reported.

Research indicates many e-cigarette users are likely to get addicted to nicotine and some will likely end up on regular cigarettes, a product that kills half its long-term users.

In September, the FDA set a 60-day deadline for several major e-cigarette companies to prove they could keep these e-cigarettes away from kids.

Experts say these flavored products, like mango and fruit, particularly appeal to young people.

Spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Cuomo "is very concerned about the rise in youth e-cigarette use".

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Gottlieb is also expected to propose a ban on menthol in regular cigarettes.

Juul's device has become wildly popular, accounting for nearly one in three e-cigarette sales as of the end of 2017, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials at the US Food and Drug Administration told the Wall Street Journal that menthol cigarettes are known for being harder to quit, likely because the flavor soothes the throat while injecting a hit of addictive nicotine.

Tobacco companies have fought cutting flavors from e-cigarettes, saying they are not aimed at youths but at adults who need them as a way to transition from tobacco cigarettes.

"In order to close the on-ramp to e-cigarettes for kids, we have to put in place some speed bumps for adults", Gottlieb said. "It's simply not tolerable".

Representatives from Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

Other reports by GizPress

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