The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared teen e-cigarette use an epidemic today, threatening to slap manufacturers including Juul with crushing fines if they don't present plans to curb sales to minors. "We're going to have to take action".
Manufacturers offer and market e-cigarette flavors that appeal to minors, including candy, bubble gum, and fruit flavors.
The FDA also warned e-cigarette companies that they have 60 days to show they can keep their products away from kids or risk being taken off store shelves. But it's not clear how quickly the decision could be reversed.
The Vapor Technology Association, which says it represents over 600 vaping manufacturers and distributors, also supports limiting teen access, but added that the new actions by the FDA ventured "into risky territory" by not being in the best interest of public health. Upon review, the FDA could require the firms to change their sales and marketing practices, stop distributing to retailers that sell to youth or halt the sale of some or all of their flavored e-cigarette products altogether until the companies clear the applications process. "As health professionals, we strongly believe that access to nicotine products, and that advertising of nicotine products that appeals to teens, should be restricted to minimize youth exposure". As part of that plan, Gottlieb has suggested some smokers could be directed toward alternative products that deliver nicotine without the carcinogens of cigarettes. The upshot could be less switching and therefore more smoking-related deaths. That could lead to removal of some major flavored e-cigarette brands, including the popular products made by Juul Labs Inc., if they do not address the issue to the agency's satisfaction. But that number includes respondents who reported vaping at all during the previous month, even just once.
A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found in January that while e-cigarettes are far less harmful than conventional cigarettes, which produce a raft of toxic substances when burned, they still pose health risks.
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 unsafe. Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent.More news: Osaka not saddened by Serena row in US Open final
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.
The ability of manufacturers to prevent underage consumption is, in any case, pretty limited. In some states, one must be 21 to buy them.
"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. 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 time periods.
Dr Gottlieb acknowledged that the toughened approach would force "hard trade-offs" when it comes to promoting e-cigarettes to adults.
Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and research shows that young adults who smoke or who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to binge drink than nonsmokers, the health department said.