FDA: Teens using e-cigarettes is an 'epidemic'

16 September, 2018, 13:17 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • FDA takes ‘historic action’ on youth e-cigarette ‘epidemic’	 	 	 			File an e-cigarette

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.

Warning that e-cigarettes use by minors has reached "epidemic proportions", the FDA imposed fines Wednesday and sent warning letters to 1,300 retailers that sell vaping devices. "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", said Kevin Burns, CEO of JUUL Labs.

This use by children and teens is a concern to the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction. Now the FDA has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated approximately 18,560 civil money penalty cases, as of September 1, 2018.

Noting an "epidemic" surge in teen use of e-cigarettes, Gottlieb warned the FDA might require companies to change their sales and marketing practices; stop distributing products to retailers who sell to kids; and remove flavored e-cigarette products from the market. Last year, the FDA extended the deadline for these same manufacturers to get approval to market new lines of non-combustible tobacco products until 2022.

"Even though a 2017 BPS Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows the overall percentage of district students who reported using electronic cigarettes declined by 9 percent, we are always concerned about students engaging in risky behaviors", BPS said in an April letter to the community.

It marks a shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes. The order was part of a sweeping government action that targeted both makers and sellers of e-cigarettes.

The FDA is wanting the industry to address two major areas when it comes to discouraging minors. Since 2017, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes, although that benefit hasn't been proven. Gottlieb said at the time he was trying to ease the regulatory pathway for products that are potentially less harmful sources of nicotine than smoking.

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But the FDA said it is also investigating whether e-cigarette manufacturers have introduced new products after August 8, 2016, without premarket authorization. "Juuling", along with "vaping", has become a common term for e-cigarette use by teenagers on social media and at USA high schools.

In addition, the 12 issued warning letter to other online retailers address the selling of misleading labeled and/or advertising e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies. If they can't, the flavored products could be pulled from store shelves.

Altria Group and British American Tobacco have gained the most intraday since 2008, rising as much as 7.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

"If they stop them from selling it, it's gonna be a really good thing", said Griselda Navarro, as she picked up her daughter at Burnett Middle School in San Jose. He also said the agency is "considering the immediate removal ... from the market" of e-cigarette flavorings that cater to underage users.

The steps announced Wednesday are just the initial elements of these new efforts, Gottlieb said. But spokeswoman Victoria Davis said "appropriate flavours play an important role in helping adult smokers switch". The truth about tobacco and the tobacco industry are at the heart of our proven-effective and nationally recognized truth public-education campaign, our rigorous and scientific research and policy studies, and our innovative community and youth engagement programs supporting populations at high risk of using tobacco.

"I'm here to tell them today that this prior approach is over", he said.

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