US officials call teen vaping 'epidemic,' weigh flavor ban

Adjust Comment Print

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.

The agency remains committed to the tobacco framework, Gottlieb told staffers Wednesday, but he acknowledged that it "didn't predict what I now believe is an epidemic of e-cigarette use among teenagers".

"Vaping can deliver nicotine to your brain, reprogramming you to crave more and more".

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner, said his agency issued 1,300 warning letters and fines after an undercover "blitz" this summer pinpointing convenience stores and gas stations that sold vaping devices to juveniles. However, Gottlieb said that he is ready to make vaping less attractive to adults if it reduces the harm to teens.

Hutsell says that he lost his mother to lung cancer after she smoked for over 30 years and that he wishes vaping was available for her back then. The smoking alternative came under FDA control in 2016, when the administration placed an age requirement of 18-years-old on the product. The FDA will launch a new, full-scale e-cigarette campaign targeted to youth next week. "E-cigs non-public changed into an almost ubiquitous - and unhealthy - pattern among young of us".

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network called Wednesday's actions a "necessary first step" but said officials could do much more.

Makers argue that e-cigarettes can help adult smokers transition away from burnt tobacco products.

However, there is little consensus about how to regulate the industry. Israel banned Juul cigarettes last month on the grounds that its high concentration of nicotine represented a "grave risk to public health". "Juuling", along with "vaping", has become a common term for e-cigarette use by teenagers on social media and at USA high schools.

We also have the highest percentage of youth having reported e-cigarette use in the last 30 days at 23 per cent, compared to the national average of 10 per cent. In addition, 3.3% of middle school students called themselves current users of e-cigarettes, up from 0.6% in 2011.

Uber has said it is cooperating with a U.S. Justice Department investigation into possible violations of bribery law. Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent.

The Vapor Technology Association, which says it represents over 600 vaping manufacturers and distributors, also supports limiting teen access, but added that the new actions by the FDA ventured "into risky territory" by not being in the best interest of public health.

The appeal of e-cigarettes to teens is widespread and has raised alarms in other countries, including the UK. "But in closing the on-ramp for kids, we're going to have to narrow the on-ramp for adults".

Dr Gottlieb announced a number of steps the FDA plans to take.

So far, the FDA has issued warnings to Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic.

In the absence of such plans, Gottlieb vowed "to revisit the FDA's exercise of enforcement discretion for products now on the market".

The five e-cigarette brands account for more than 97% of e-cigarette sales, according to the FDA.

"Let me be clear, everything is on the table and this includes the resources of both our civil and our criminal enforcement tools", Gottlieb said.

Juul is the clear leader among e-cigarette brands, with $454 million in sales over the 12 months ending in February, according to the Wells Fargo report, which cited market data from the research firm Nielsen. Altria Group Inc. and British American Tobacco Plc had the biggest one-day percentage gain in about a decade.

"We didn't foresee the extent of what's now become one of our biggest challenges", he said, in prepared remarks. "They're now on notice". Meanwhile, among students who never vaped, only 2% started smoking during the same period of time. The FDA banned flavorings (other than menthol) from cigarettes nine years ago. "Nicotine negatively impacts learning, memory, and attention".

The announcement was immediately hailed by anti-tobacco advocates.

"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 at a press briefing. He said the problem had reached "epidemic proportion".

JUUL and four other makes of flavored tobacco products have 60 days to convince regulators they're keeping their products out of the hands of kids.