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

Credit Gabby Jones  Bloomberg

"The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we're seeing in youth and the resulting path to addiction must end", Scott Gottlieb, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said.

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 U.S. e-cigarette market-60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports.

Fontem Ventures, makers of blu, issued a similar statement. The FDA took the largest enforcement action against more than 1,300 retailers and five manufacturers of selling e-cigarettes on Wednesday. The company has more than two-thirds of the US e-cigarette market, according to Nielsen data. The four others are owned by cigarette companies.

The owners of Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In a release, the FDA said it's taking "historic action" against companies that it believes promotes use and addiction of their products to young vapers. "This 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".

To report a retailer selling tobacco products to underage customers, submit an online form on the FDA's website. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies they declared have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids. "And as far as the liquids we carry, we do not pick up brands that have the potential to appeal to children, because we have that responsibility", said Hutsell.

Last year, the FDA announced that it would delay regulations that could have halted the sales of many e-cigarettes.




Also, the agency is probing manufacturer's online shops for "straw" purchases in which buyers resell products to minors. 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.

The FDA said it remains committed to exploring e-cigarettes as a less-harmful alternative for adult smokers, but Gottlieb added "that work can't come at the expense of kids".

"The FDA will not tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a trade-off for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products", he said.

"Given the market's overarching concerns about Juul's impact on cigarettes, especially Marlboro, we think a potential "ban" on Juul would be positive for MO", Herzog wrote. Ingredients also include glycerol, propylene glycol, natural oils, extracts and flavor and benzoic acid.

"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. Appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch. "By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, and we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission".

"There is no question that a lot of the youth use is being driven by Juul", Gottlieb said. That initiative emerged from the agency's broader plan to regulate nicotine and tobacco, unveiled in July 2017, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. We will provide the Agency with a comprehensive plan in 60 days as it requested in its letter to us.

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

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