FDA cracking down on sales of e-cigarettes to kids

16 September, 2018, 13:17 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

The agency sent more than 1,100 warning letters and 131 fines to retailers it said illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors during a nationwide undercover sting including brick-and-mortar and online stores this summer.

Logic Technology Development, owned by Japan Tobacco Inc, said it will demonstrate to the FDA "that Logic markets its products only to adults". If Juul Labs and four other major manufacturers fail to halt sales to minors, the agency said, it could remove their flavored products from the market. The agency also has issued more than 135 No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, which can result in retailers being prohibited from selling tobacco products for specified time periods.

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

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the anti-tobacco group Truth Initiative and other groups said last month that several large companies, including the parent company of Phillip Morris, were violating the so-called deeming rules. "In the coming weeks, we'll take additional action under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to immediately address the youth access to, and the appeal of, these products".

"Senator, that's a good question", said Jason Healy, the founder and president of Blu E-Cigarettes.

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[The FDA's approach] calls to mind the predictably lazy federal approach to firearms regulation: Rather than do the hard work of running down street dealers and straw buyers, the ATF and the anti-gun lobby concentrate their efforts on firearms makers and licensed gun dealers, because it is easier to police the law-abiding than it is to police criminals. But they say that this move like this could backfire because, you know, adults who are - use e-cigarettes are using them to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes, which are really unsafe.

STEIN: Yeah, so the companies that make these products, they say, look; you know, we don't think kids should be using them either.

Stressing that the FDA need to properly evaluate the public health impacts such products have before they can approve them, Gottlieb noted that the speed in which e-cigarettes have appeared and spread hasn't given them enough time to do just that. "I'll be clear. The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products".

According to the Washington Post, the preliminary data is from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, and it shows a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students in 2018 compared to 2017. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies that it says have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids.

"We're especially centered on the flavored e-cigarettes", said Gottlieb.

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If the plans fall short, the FDA could block sales of the products by enforcing a requirement that companies provide detailed safety and health data about their products before marketing them.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said that the FDA will do anything in its power to keep potentially addictive substances out of the hands of minors. British American Tobacco shares increased almost 6 percent to their best day since December, 2008. But it added that "appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch", spokeswoman Victoria Davis said.

"We want to high-tail extra", said Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist who has labored for years to lower tobacco employ.

Saying vaping among teenagers has reached "an epidemic proportion", the agency said it was taking a "series of critical and historic" measures to curb the alarming trends.

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