Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

E-cig makers have 60 days to show they aren’t targeting minors

E-cig makers have 60 days to show they aren’t targeting minors

"It's now clear to me, that in closing the on-ramp to kids, we're going to have to narrow the off-ramp for adults who want to migrate off combustible tobacco and onto e-cigs". "It's an unfortunate tradeoff". The agency extended that reach to other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in August 2016 and allowed those products that were already on the market to continue sales while preparing an application for FDA clearance.

San Francisco-based Juul said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit.

Gottlieb echoed those concerns, saying he's anxious about the effects of nicotine in e-cigarettes on the developing brain, and that a proportion of teenagers who use the devices will end up on regular cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes can potentially help adults quit smoking regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products, the CDC warns they are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults that don't use tobacco products. The FDA is demanding what Gottlieb describes as "plans to immediately and substantially reverse" the "clear and present danger" of adolescent vaping.

The FDA has given five companies - Vuse, Blu, JuuL, MarkTen XL, and Logic- 60 days to come up with a plan to keep teenagers from using its devices and sent warning letters to 1,300 companies that it caught selling the device to minors.

"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products". The upshot could be less switching and therefore more smoking-related deaths.

"They come out with cherry flavored vodka and birthday cake flavored vodka". But that number includes respondents who reported vaping at all during the previous month, even just once. The number of regular users is much smaller, and nearly all of them are current or former smokers.

The burgeoning popularity of e-cigarettes among young smokers has caused traditional cigarette industry players a great deal of trouble by eating into their market share.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb attends an interview at Reuters headquarters in New York City, U.S., October 10, 2017. Such grim statistics prompted the FDA to recently propose that the level of nicotine, the addictive substance that gets people hooked, permitted in products should be brought down, either suddenly or gradually over time, to eventually wean people off smoking.

Juul e-cigs are available with 3 percent nicotine and 5 percent nicotine - about a much as pack of cigarettes, according to its website.

The ability of manufacturers to prevent underage consumption is, in any case, pretty limited.

"If they fail to do so, or if the plans do not appropriately address this issue, the FDA will consider whether it would be appropriate to revisit the current policy that results in these products remaining on the market without a marketing order from the agency", the FDA said in a press release.

Such a step would be a major blow to the e-cigarette companies - Juul, Vuse, Blu, Logic and MarkTen - which often feature cream and fruit flavorings in their products. If underage consumption does not justify a ban on tobacco cigarettes (and I don't think it does), it can not possibly justify a ban on competing products that are much safer.

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