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

FDA puts e-cig makers on notice

US health officials today said teenage use of e-cigarette has reached "epidemic" levels and are calling on the industry to address the problem.

E-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco product by kids, with more than 2 million middle and high school kids using the product in 2017, the federal government says. It's simply not tolerable.

The five brands the FDA has addressed are: Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, blu e-cigs and Logic.

State health department officials continue to be anxious about JUUL, a device that looks like a flash drive, which they say dominates more than 70 percent of the e-cigarette market.

But the FDA said it is also investigating whether e-cigarette manufacturers have introduced new products after August 8, 2016, without premarket authorization.

Gottlieb announced a number of steps the agency plans to take as part of a broader crackdown on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to minors.

Officials said the move against more than 1,300 retailers was the largest coordinated enforcement action in the agency's history. Additionally, 12 online retailers were found to be selling vaping products that were "misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products", in violation of an earlier order from the FDA, and were also slapped with warning letters, according to the announcement.

"By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors", the company said in a statement. "We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine".

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Tobacco investors have grown increasingly concerned that the widespread popularity of e-cigarettes is having a negative impact on the old-school industry, a headwind expected to grow as its products from companies like Juul continue gaining traction with consumers.

"But we are not going to let e-cigarettes be an on-ramp for our youth to get addicted to nicotine and transition potentially into combustible tobacco - not going to happen". Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent.

"This could result in a bullet through the head of Juul, the driver of youth initiation", said Nico von Stackelberg, an analyst with Liberum in London, told the news agency.

Then a year ago, a few months after being sworn in as commissioner, Gottlieb announced a new comprehensive tobacco framework.

In a statement, Matthew Myers, the campaign's president, said the FDA's action would only represent a turning point if it "reverses its policy and requires that all of these products undergo agency review now, not four years from now". Since 2017, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes, although that benefit hasn't been proven.

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

British American's R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, said it will comply with the FDA request, adding that "youth tobacco prevention is a priority for our companies".

"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement.

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