Calling teen vaping 'epidemic,' officials weigh flavor ban

A Juul vaping system with accessory pods in varying flavors on May 02 2018 in Washington DC

In his remarks, Gottlieb criticized e-cigarette manufacturers for failing to address teen use of their products.

"The FDA may perchance perchance simply level-headed suddenly high-tail to manage flavored e-cigarettes, as an replacement of ready until 2022, because it is presently planning to function", Bloomberg said in a order.

The government is now threatening to pull electronic cigarettes, such as Juul, a sleek little device that looks like a thumb drive and is popular with teens, off the market if the tobacco industry doesn't do more to combat growing use of such products among youth.

The FDA is also targeting retailers who have sold e-cigarettes to minors. As part of today's action, the agency sent an additional 12 warning letters to another 12 companies that continue to sell the products.

Gottlieb's action drew immediate praise from a major tobacco-control organization, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The FDA is calling the use of e-cigarettes by young people an epidemic.

Manufacturers offer and market e-cigarette flavours that clearly appeal to minors, including candy and bubble gum flavours.

But Gottlieb acknowledged Wednesday that the agency failed to predict an "epidemic of addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

Shares of British American Tobacco were up almost 6 percent and shares of cigarette-maker Imperial Brands PLC were up more than 3 percent.

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It cited estimates from Public Health England that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than normal cigarettes. The Juul in particular resembles a USB drive, making it easy for teenagers to hide and even bring to school.

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"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", he said.

A Juul spokesperson, Victoria Davis, argued in a statement to Reuters that "appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch".

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.

"There is no question that a lot of the youth use is being driven by Juul", Gottlieb said. 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. Earlier this year, as criticism of the company mounted, it committed $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement.

The agency issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to convenience stores, gas stations and other stores over the summer for selling e-cigarettes to minors, Gottlieb says. He said a main goal in reducing use of e-cigarettes by minors is to fight sales of them to minors.

Despite the fact that they can not legally be sold to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes - hand-held vaporizers that create aerosols from liquids typically packed with nicotine and other chemicals, often including flavorings - are now the most popular tobacco product among high school students, recent federal data shows.

To that end, the FDA on Wednesday said it has asked Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL and Logic to submit plans within 60 days to describe how they will address widespread youth access and use of their products.

The FDA is demanding what Gottlieb describes as "plans to immediately and substantially reverse" the "clear and present danger" of adolescent vaping. For example, PM's is pushing to advertise its heat-not-burn iQOS devices as less harmful than traditional cigarettes, while BAT has planned to expand its e-cigarette and vaping offerings from 12 markets to 48 by 2018.

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.

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