FDA takes 'ancient action' on formative years e-cigarette 'epidemic'

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

Despite the constant warnings that increased experimentation with e-cigarettes would lead to more smoking, consumption of conventional cigarettes by teenagers stubbornly continues to decline, reaching a record low past year in the Monitoring the Future Study, which began in 1975. It's simply not tolerable.

The violations discovered in the enforcement wave found that the vast majority had to do with five brands: Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL and Logic.

Those broader recommendations would constrain the ability of e-cigarette companies to reach adult smokers and make ENDS less appealing to them. If the companies do not respond to the agency's satisfaction, the FDA said, it will consider removing their products from stores. "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".

But at a Wednesday morning press conference and in a statement posted on the agency's website, the FDA commissioner acknowledged that federal health officials failed to recognize "the extent of what's now become one of our biggest challenges".

"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced a year ago".

In addition to its challenge to manufacturers, the FDA also announced it had fined around 130 retailers who were caught selling e-cigarettes to underage individuals and sent almost 1,200 more warning letters to other retailers. Appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch.

Wednesday, the commissioner of the federal agency said it was investigating if flavored vaping products are risky for teens, and need to come off the market. Many researchers say the devices are less risky than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco's cancer-causing ingredients.

Why is the use of e-cigarettes by young people so concerning?

At some level of the 60-day ready length, the FDA plans to overview the five companies' advertising and marketing and gross sales practices, with doable "boots on the ground inspections", Gottlieb said.

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The FDA recognized the impact its actions might have on adults trying to stop smoking, Gottlieb said, but emerging research on how flavored products encourage excessive use by young people shows action must be taken.

This is still a problem today among many middle and high schools where students have been concealing and utilizing e-cigarettes in classrooms and hallways during school hours.

Traders said proposed FDA action was less harsh than feared.

The agency's latest action follows a sting operation in the spring that targeted businesses selling JUUL brand e-cigarette products to minors, which resulted in more than 60 warning letters and fines.

According to the company's website, the mission of JUUL products is to improve the lives of the world's 1 billion adult smokers. "Clearly the FDA knows who the industry culprits are in this epidemic and as such should exercise its full regulatory authority over these products rather than allow the industry to voluntarily self-correct". E-cigarettes are by far the most popular tobacco product among teens.

On Wednesday, Gottlieb put manufacturers on notice that the agency's balancing act will lean more heavily on preventing youth addiction.

"I've been warning the e-cigarette industry for more than a year that they needed to do much more to stem the youth trends", he said.

Of the 3.6 million middle- and high-school students who said in 2017 they are current tobacco-product users, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bottles of flavor packets for e-cigarettes stand displayed in a tobacco shop in New York on June 23, 2015.

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