FDA announces 'historic' crackdown on e-cigarettes sales to kids

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

FDA also added saying that if the agencies don't think their plans go far enough, it could order their flavored products off the market as these five brands make up more than 97 percent of the US market for e-cigarettes.

"I employ the phrase epidemic with expansive care", said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

A nationwide sting operation from June through August resulted in more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers who sold Juul products and other e-cigarettes to kids.

Gottlieb said if the five e-cigarette manufacturers that received FDA letters do not come up with plans to address youth use of their products, the agency might "reconsider" its decision to delay the date at which e-cigarettes will need agency approval to remain on the market.

Since the surge in teen use of the products began, the FDA and Juul have battled over the products consistently.

"Nicotine can be harmful to the still-developing brain of an adolescent", said Mitchell Zeller, the Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products.

The agency is now demanding plans to reign in youth-targeted marketing campaigns and control illegal sales of their products to minors from Juul and four other e-cigarette makers within 60 days. Now the FDA has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated approximately 18,560 civil money penalty cases, as of September 1, 2018. Former smokers who vape may return to traditional cigarettes if flavored e-cigarettes are no longer available.

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products has always been marked by twists and turns and years of debate. And though the devices may help adults quit smoking, the report said evidence shows their use increases the risk of young people eventually moving to traditional cigarettes. 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. Failing to do so, or making unsatisfactory efforts, "could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law", the FDA statement says. The FDA claims that more than 2 million middle schoolers and high school students were regularly vaping previous year, with underage use reaching "an epidemic proportion".

According to the FDA, more than 2 million middle and high school students previous year said they used e-cigarettes.

In 2017, 11.7% of high schoolers who participated in the CDC's National Youth Tobacco Survey said they had vaped a tobacco product within the last month, up from 1.5% in 2011. As allotment of this day's action, the agency despatched an additional 12 warning letters to one more 12 companies that continue to promote the merchandise.

The action is part of the FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan announced in April.

"If they stop them from selling it, it's gonna be a really good thing", said Griselda Navarro, as she picked up her daughter at Burnett Middle School in San Jose.

STEIN: Yeah, so the FDA says it's giving five companies that make the most popular forms of cigarettes among kids 60 days to prove that they will keep these things out of the hands of young people.

The federal government is threatening to eliminate that alternative even while tolerating conventional cigarettes, which are far more hazardous and also end up in the mouths of people who are not old enough to buy them legally.

However, he added: "The youth risk is paramount". The companies insist that the flavors are critical to helping nicotine-addicted adult smokers switch from conventional cigarettes.

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