FDA Threatens to Ban E-Cigarettes If Teenagers Keep Using Them

Grant Boone
September 13, 2018

WASH/LA-The Food and Drug Administration said on September 12-they are considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in response to an "epidemic" of young people using e-cigarettes, the agency's leader said.

The warning from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday marks a stark shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes, which have become the most used tobacco product among teenagers.

"While we remain committed to advancing policies that promote the potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, that work can't come at the expense of kids", Gottlieb said.

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.

"What we have learned from our experience with cigarettes and other products, is it is important to restrict sales to kids, but if you make products appealing to kids, market them in ways to attract kids, you can be certain kids will get them", Myers told AFP.

In a statement, VTA Executive Director Tony Abboud asked: "Does FDA really want millions of Americans to return to smoking cigarettes?"

"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 issued 12 warning letters to companies that it says have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids. That initiative emerged from the agency's broader plan to regulate nicotine and tobacco, unveiled in July 2017, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

"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.

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It will also "re-visit" the policy it announced past year, which gave e-cigarette companies more time to apply for regulatory approval. The FDA's delay on that requirement has allowed the industry to flourish with little oversight.

The FDA also plans to revisit its policy that extended the dates for manufacturers of certain flavored e-cigarettes to apply for premarket authorization.

San Francisco-based Juul said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit.

"I use the word epidemic with great care".

The agency plans to issue data showing "substantial increase" in youth using e-cigarettes - otherwise known as vaping - this year compared with 2017. "Hindsight, and the data that's now available to us, fully reveal these trends". We think right now we can step into this market with a combination of enforcement actions against the places that we know kids are getting access to these products, which includes retail establishments that are selling them without putting proper restrictions in place or without carding minors, as well as the online sites, where we think that there are a straw purchases being made, where - where someone's going online, buying a lot of these products, and then reselling them to kids.

On Wednesday, Gottlieb criticized e-cigarette companies' handling of the underage use problem, saying they approached it as "a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations".

The FDA also targeted Juul retailers this spring, issuing 56 warning letters and six civil monetary penalties.

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