Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

FDA may ban flavored e-cigarettes, cites teen use 'epidemic'

FDA may ban flavored e-cigarettes, cites teen use 'epidemic'

On Wednesday, the FDA magnified its message, sending five major e-cigarette manufacturers and more than 1,100 businesses warning letters - and, in some cases, fines for selling to minors.

"We're especially focused on the flavored e-cigarettes", said Gottlieb.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.

Officials said the move against more than 1,300 retailers was the largest coordinated enforcement action in the agency's history. Critics of pushing back the deadline raised concern that more kids would take up vaping.

The FDA is continuing to conduct checks of retail establishments that sell tobacco products to ensure compliance with federal laws. Critics have charged the agency has been working too slowly to regulate the devices.

Conley called Gottlieb's initiative "nothing more than a gift to the tobacco industry", whose stock prices jumped on news of the FDA's vaping crackdown.

To the extent that teenagers who otherwise would be smoking are vaping instead, that is an unambiguous gain in public health terms, since the latter habit is much less risky.

"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said. Many researchers say the devices are less risky than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco's cancer-causing ingredients.

Juul owns about 72% of the U.S. market for e-cigarette sales, according to Wells Fargo. But he stopped short of requiring any such changes. E-cigarettes are by far the most popular tobacco product among teens. In addition, 3.3% of middle school students called themselves current users of e-cigarettes, up from 0.6% in 2011. And the USA wouldn't be the first country to contemplate such an action.

Juul Labs owns 72 per cent of the United States market for e-cigarette sales, according to Wells Fargo.

Phillips says it's also a substance that can be harmful to developing brains.

Makers argue that e-cigarettes can help adult smokers transition away from burnt tobacco products.

"Even though a 2017 BPS Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows the overall percentage of district students who reported using electronic cigarettes declined by 9 percent, we are always concerned about students engaging in risky behaviors", BPS said in an April letter to the community. We don't want kids to be vaping.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said that the FDA will do anything in its power to keep potentially addictive substances out of the hands of minors.

A JUUL spokeswoman told the NYT:"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".

"We're seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavored products from the market", Gottlieb said.

"Let me be clear: Everything's on the table", said Gottlieb. Other big players are owned by big tobacco conglomerates; Camel parent British American Tobacco makes Vuse e-cigarettes, and Marlboro parent Altria makes MarkTen e-cigarettes.

"Industry must step up to this challenge", Gottlieb says. "They're now on notice".

The proposal, announced on Wednesday, is part of a broader effort to curb teen use of the nicotine devices.

While the health risks for e-cigarette smoking are still being conducted, there are decades worth of studies on traditional cigarettes highlighting the frightful side effects of smoking. Some flavorings contain diacetyl, a compound that can damage airways if inhaled and may cause lung disease. "With our nation's youth at risk for a lifetime of addiction to tobacco products, now is not the time to "consider" but to meaningfully act", Wimmer said.

The also gave dominant e-cigarette makers 60 days to explain how they plan to reverse the spike in use among minors. He said the problem had reached "epidemic proportion".

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