USA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid youth 'epidemic'

USA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid youth 'epidemic'

USA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid youth 'epidemic'

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 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, citing an "epidemic" of use among teens.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the plan Wednesday, saying the agency is giving the manufacturers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, Blu, and Logic-which make up more than 97% of the United States e-cigarette market-60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports.

Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and research shows that young adults who smoke or who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to binge drink than nonsmokers, the health department said.

"These alternative nicotine delivery devices can be important for helping adults get off of combustible tobacco as an offramp", said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday.

Gottlieb warned action may require companies to change their sales and marketing practices; stop distributing products to retailers who sell to kids; and remove "some or all of their flavored e-cig products from the market". E-cigs deliver lower toxin levels than regular cigarettes, but users can inhale more of the addictive stimulant nicotine. The company has more than two-thirds of the USA e-cigarette market, according to Nielsen data.

"If young adults go online and buy 100 units of a product to sell to teens, that activity ought to be easy for a product manufacturer to identify", said Gottlieb.

"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", Gottlieb said.


However, Gottlieb claims e-cigarette brands haven't done enough to stop kids from using the products. Gottlieb is talking about reneging on the FDA's four-year extension of the deadline for seeking regulatory approval to continue selling e-cigarettes, which would wreak havoc with a market that he concedes has great potential for reducing smoking-related disease and death.

"I've been warning the e-cigarette industry for more than a year that they needed to do much more to stem the youth trends", Gottlieb said.

"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said. More generally, the FDA wants Juul and the other companies to contemplate "the particular youth appeal of their products", which involves features, such as style and convenience, that adults also happen to like. Former smokers who vape may return to traditional cigarettes if flavored e-cigarettes are no longer available.

"JUUL Labs will work proactively with FDA in response to its request".

The agency said it plans to unveil a new e-cigarette public education campaign targeted to youth next week, and will soon announce wider access to new nicotine replacement therapies to help more adult smokers quit cigarettes.

And some of the retailers that received warning letters are still advertising and selling these products, he said.

It will also "re-visit" the policy it announced past year, which gave e-cigarette companies more time to apply for regulatory approval. Youth tobacco prevention is a priority for our companies.

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products has always been marked by twists and turns and years of debate.

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