Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Youth Vaping is an epidemic, says FDA

Youth Vaping is an epidemic, says FDA

"I use the word epidemic with great care", said FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. "It's aimed at retail and online sales of e-cigarettes to minors". Short of that, he suggests the FDA might force companies to stop offering e-liquid flavors that appeal to minors, which are an important factor in quit attempts by adult smokers. This epidemic is particularly troubling given the high addiction potential that products like JUUL present to youth.

In a speech to FDA employees, Gottlieb said that rapid spike in teen use, emerging sales trends and concerns among parents and teachers convinced him that underage use of e-cigarettes has become a full-blown crisis that must be forcefully addressed. "Hindsight, and the data that's now available to us, fully reveal these trends". "And the impact is clearly apparent to the FDA".

"My own work, along with the work of many others, suggests that rising cigarette taxes have been the most effective means of reducing smoking levels in the United States", he said. Of the 3.6 million middle and high school students who said in 2017 they were tobacco product users, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes, Bloomberg reports, citing CDC stats. This decision put restrictions on how vape companies can advertise, prevented them from handing out free samples and eventually will require products to clear an FDA review in order to stay on the market. And the risks mounted. It is working with Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to address the access and appeal of these products, and to launch a public education campaign. "We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people". Gottlieb would be on much firmer ethical ground if he took the opposite position: In trying to stop teenagers from vaping, we won't deny adult smokers access to products that could save their lives. Those products include e-cigarettes.

Considered the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the history of the FDA, the agency issued more than 1,300 warning letters and civil money penalty fines to retailers who have been illegally selling JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors during a nation-wide undercover operation in brick-and-mortor stores and online stores this summer. In a statement, they called for support for their bipartisan legislation, introduced in July, which would ban flavored cigars and place stringent controls on e-juice flavorings.

The FDA is in the process of rolling out a sweeping anti-smoking created to make it easier for smokers to quit by cutting the nicotine levels in regular cigarettes. Those five brands account for about 97% of the US e-cigarette market, the agency reported.

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

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Gottlieb's announcement was met with some skepticism by the American Lung Association's (ALA) national president and CEO, Harold Wimmer.

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.

However, he added: "The youth risk is paramount".

"This may create some obstacles for adults who want to enjoy e-cigarettes", Gottlieb said.

The Food and Drug Administration is threatening to pull flavored electronic cigarettes like Juul off the market if the tobacco industry doesn't do more to combat growing use of the products by children and teens.

E-cigarettes are sold as a product that helps people quit smoking, but Phillips says there's reason to believe they actually lead people to take up the habit.

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