FDA Considering Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes

FDA Considering Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes

The FDA is alarmed that, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), "more than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017". It comes in sweet flavors like mango and fruit medley, and delivers a powerful dose of nicotine, putting kids at greater risk of addiction.

The also gave dominant e-cigarette makers 60 days to explain how they plan to reverse the spike in use among minors. "Inevitably what we are going to have to contemplate are actions that may narrow the off-ramp for adults who see e-cigarettes as a viable alternative to combustible tobacco in order to close the on-ramp for kids", he told reporters.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the plan Wednesday, saying the agency is giving the manufacturers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, Blu, and Logic-which make up more than 97% of the U.S. e-cigarette market-60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports. "The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine". The agency may also ban sales of some flavored e-cigarette products, which Gottlieb says are particularly appealing to underage users, and consider shortening a grace period that now gives e-cigarette companies until 2022 to apply for FDA approval. As long as some retailers are careless, some adults are willing to buy e-cigarettes on behalf of minors, and some teenagers manage to swipe them from parents or older siblings, there will be leakage from the adult market. "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".

Studies show that teens who vape are also more likely to go on to smoke traditional burned cigarettes. The health effects of vaping are concerning as well.

The steps announced Wednesday are just the initial elements of these new efforts, Gottlieb said.

The FDA also announced 1,300 warning letters and fines to online and traditional stores that have illegally sold Juul and other e-cigarettes to minors.

Gottlieb said that around 97 percent of the products on the market were from the five brands it is now targeting: JUUL, Vuse, Blu, MarkTen and Logic. Analysts at Wells Fargo estimated that Americans bought more than $2.3 billion worth of e-cigarettes between August 2017 and last month, and they expect annual sales to reach almost $4 billion this year.

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The advertisers that received warning letters today, are still advertising and selling these products.

In April, the FDA requested documents from JUUL that may shed light on whether the company marketed its products to younger audiences.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog, in a research note, said Juul appears "most at risk" from the crackdown because of its "strong appeal to youth and the FDA's comments on flavours".

"Let's be clear. This may require these brands to revise their sales and marketing practices, including online sales; to stop distributing their products to retailers who sell to kids; and to remove some or all of their flavored e-cig products from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet applicable requirements", Gottlieb said.

The agency has so far issued fines to 131 retailers, ranging from $279 to $11,182.

The use of e-cigarettes has become an epidemic among teens and needs to be stopped, Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Wednesday. The FDA will launch a new, full-scale e-cigarette campaign targeted to youth next week. But the FDA nonetheless intends to stand in the way of JUUL and other products that could help millions of Americans, disproportionately poor, take an important step toward improving their health. Why?

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