Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

FDA announces 'historic' crackdown on e-cigarettes sales to kids

FDA announces 'historic' crackdown on e-cigarettes sales to kids

All three of those companies compete with Juul in the e-cigarette market - but, unlike Juul, they also sell regular cigarettes, meaning a government crackdown on e-cigarettes doesn't hurt as much. And it highlighted e-cigarettes' role as a way for adult smokers to transition off cigarettes.

USA health officials on Wednesday declared the teen use of e-cigarettes an epidemic and issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to entities related to the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to minors.

In a statement posted on Facebook, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, which advocates for the growing e-cigarette industry, said it is taking the FDA's recent move "quite seriously". As part of today's action, the agency sent an additional 12 warning letters to another 12 companies that continue to sell the products.

The agency also has issued more than 135 No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, which can result in retailers being prohibited from selling tobacco products for specified periods of time.

The agency plans to issue data showing "substantial increase" in youth using e-cigarettes - otherwise known as vaping - this year compared with 2017.

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.

"I have grown increasingly concerned around what we see as rising youth use in these products, and I'm disappointed in the actions the companies have taken to try to address this", Gottlieb said in an interview. "The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products". If manufacturers aren't willing to do the research, he said, the FDA will do it for them, with appropriate consequences. "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".

Gottlieb is remarkably cavalier about throwing adult smokers under the bus in the name of preventing adolescents from experimenting with e-cigarettes.

The FDA has given makers of e-cigarettes until 2022 to seek its approval for products that were on the market by August 2016.

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Gottlieb called the action the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the agency's history.

The action is part of the FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan announced in April.

The FDA is giving the five top-selling e-cigarette brands - Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic - 60 days to provide plans for how they will mitigate sales to minors.

The appeal of e-cigarettes to teens is widespread and has raised alarms in other countries, including the UK.

Despite the fact that they can not legally be sold to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes - hand-held vaporizers that create aerosols from liquids typically packed with nicotine and other chemicals, often including flavorings - are now the most popular tobacco product among high school students, recent federal data shows.

In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Opinion, created to take care of some of the crucial identified public successfully being dangers, equivalent to flavors, that make contributions to adolescent employ of e-cigarettes. The FDA's chairman said the problem had reached an "epidemic proportion", and manufacturers have been given 60 days to show how they would address it. "They must demonstrate that they're truly committed to keeping these new products out of the hands of kids, and they must find a way to reverse this trend", Gottlieb said.

These levels of nicotine are highly addictive, particularly to the developing brains of children and teenagers.

However, Gottlieb claims e-cigarette brands haven't done enough to stop kids from using the products.

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