Feds take action against retailers in e-cigarette 'epidemic'

Daniel Fowler
September 16, 2018

In addition to JUUL, 4 other vape companies face the FDA's ultimatum: Vuse, Blue, Markten XL, and Logic (who collectively make up 97% of the United States e-cig market).

As part of a nationwide enforcement effort this summer, the FDA issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers who were found to have illegally sold products to teens.

"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", JUUL CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement.

As of September 1, the FDA said it has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law, and initiated 18,560 civil money penalty cases in its checks of retail establishments selling tobacco products.

"Flavored e-cigarettes should be ordered off shelves immediately - ending ongoing dithering and saving another generation from nicotine addiction", said Sen.

Juul and four other producers, which Gottlieb said alter 97% of the market, are in actuality required to produce plans to mitigate formative years gross sales within 60 days or face capacity criminal or civil action.

According to data published Wednesday, the FDA sent warning letters to 28 Arkansas retailers.

Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009.

"We've gone a long way toward curbing smoking in society, and then something like the e-cigarette comes along and we are essentially normalizing smoking again", said Phillips. Some legal users of the products say the problem is bigger than e-cigarettes.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics also scolded the FDA for giving e-cigarette manufacturers more time to flout rules against selling their products to kids.

Gottlieb recently began to ask whether the use of Juul and other similar products by kids is overshadowing any benefit to adult smokers using the devices to help them quit cigarettes.

"We're seriously reconsidering our compliance dates for the submission of product applications when it is apparent that there's widespread youth use of the product", he said.

But the FDA said it is also investigating whether e-cigarette manufacturers have introduced new products after August 8, 2016, without premarket authorization. More than 2 million middle and high school students were users of e-cigarettes in 2017, according to the agency. The FDA declined to publicly release the numbers, but people familiar with them said they were preliminary data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, on which the agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborate. "In enabling a path for e-cigarettes to offer a potentially lower risk alternative for adult smokers", he says, "we won't allow the current trends in youth access and use to continue, even if it means putting limits in place that reduce adult uptake of these products".

The agency also ordered 12 online retailers to halt their continued marketing of e-liquids resembling kid-friendly products like candy and cookies.

"On a large scale, I don't think the evidence is there to say that they are an effective smoking cessation tool". 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.

Dr. Gottlieb said he believes that certain flavors make the products appealing to teens.

Shares of Altria MO rose more than 7 percent and British American Tobacco BATS-GB rose about 6 percent, both to their best day since November 2008. Appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch.

This attitude is causing concern amongst parents who told USA Today the government has to get involved in solving the so-called "vaping crisis".

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