FDA may ban flavored e-cigarettes, cites teen use 'epidemic'
FDA may ban flavored e-cigarettes, cites teen use 'epidemic'
The FDA Is Considering Pulling Some Flavored E-Cigarettes From the Market to Fight 'Epidemic' of Youth Vaping
13 September, 2018, 19:59
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb acknowledged that the demand conflicts with efforts to promote vaping as a harm-reducing alternative to smoking. "It's now clear to me, that in closing the on-ramp to kids, we're going to have to narrow the off-ramp for adults who want to migrate off combustible tobacco and onto e-cigs".
That tradeoff is not just unfortunate; it is morally unacceptable and scientifically suspect. The companies sell Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic e-cigarette brands, which account for 97 percent of US e-cigarette sales, according to FDA. Short of that, he suggests the FDA might force companies to stop offering e-liquid flavors that appeal to minors, which are an important factor in quit attempts by adult smokers.
"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement.
As part of its plan of action to address the epidemic, the FDA also sent more than 1,300 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors and issued another 131 civil money penalties to stores that continued to violate the restrictions on sales to minors.
Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said Juul is the brand "most at risk" from an FDA crackdown and that a potential ban on the company's products would boost Altria and other cigarette makers that also sell e-cigarettes. But the agency also thinks ENDS makers should consider "revising your current marketing practices to help prevent use by minors" and "removing flavored products from the market until those products can be reviewed by FDA as part of a [pre-market approval application]".
She said Altria could be well positioned because it has a long history of dealing with youth access to its products and has "limited/mature flavor profiles relative to Juul".
But the other action we would take immediately is look at removing these flavored products in the market. The upshot could be less switching and therefore more smoking-related deaths.
It cited estimates from Public Health England that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than normal cigarettes.
E-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco product by kids, with more than 2 million middle and high school kids using the product in 2017, the federal government says. The number of regular users is much smaller, and nearly all of them are current or former smokers.
But Gottlieb acknowledged Wednesday that the agency failed to predict an "epidemic of addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.
Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb attends an interview at Reuters headquarters in New York on October 10, 2017. "Juuling", along with "vaping", has become a common term for e-cigarette use by teenagers on social media and at US high schools.
The ability of manufacturers to prevent underage consumption is, in any case, pretty limited.
Manufacturers offer and market e-cigarette flavors that clearly appeal to minors, including candy and bubble gum flavors. E-cigs deliver lower toxin levels than regular cigarettes, but users can inhale more of the addictive stimulant nicotine. In some states, one must be 21 to buy them.
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