US Officials Call Teen Vaping 'Epidemic,' Weigh Flavor Ban

Adjust Comment Print

In Boston Public Schools, high school administrators have reported more instances of students in possession of vaping devices at school.

The agency will also be increasing federal enforcement actions on e-cig sales to minors in convenience stores and other retail sites, Gottlieb said, and would look closely at a practice called "straw purchases", in which adults visit web-based stores and buy in bulk to resell to minors. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we're seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.

The agency has so far issued fines to 131 retailers, ranging from $279 to $11,182.

Five of the biggest e-cigarette manufacturers - JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, and Logic - must also report to the agency within 60 days with plans to address the concerns, or face penalties, it said.

"We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion", Gottlieb said. JUUL pods, which can be bought in fruit or candy flavors, contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.


Gottlieb's action drew immediate praise from a major tobacco-control organization, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The "epidemic" perceived by the FDA is mainly an epidemic of e-cigarette experimentation, and even that trend seems to have reversed, judging from the latest NYTS results. "We need to do everything we can to address this escalating risk of addiction for youth, but we can't do this alone". "Inevitably what we are going to have to contemplate are actions that may narrow the off-ramp for adults who see e-cigarettes as a viable alternative to combustible tobacco in order to close the on-ramp for kids", he told reporters. They're generally considered a less unsafe alternative to regular cigarettes. BPS prohibits smoking on school property, including the use of electronic devices.

However, Gottlieb claims e-cigarette brands haven't done enough to stop kids from using the products.

The Vapor Technology Association, which says it represents over 600 vaping manufacturers and distributors, also supports limiting teen access, but added that the new actions by the FDA ventured "into risky territory" by not being in the best interest of public health. "We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people".

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products has always been marked by twists and turns and years of debate. The agency had for decades had no power to regulate cigarettes or other tobacco products, but Congress passed a law in 2009 giving FDA limited power to do so.

And some of the retailers that received warning letters are still advertising and selling these products, he said. Sales were allowed to continue in the interim.


Then a year ago, a few months after being sworn in as commissioner, Gottlieb announced a new comprehensive tobacco framework.

The FDA point out that, despite lacking tobacco and plenty of the nasties present in normal cigarettes, nicotine itself is hardly a benign substance. The delay was denounced by public-health groups, which have sued to restore the tighter timeline.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, citing an "epidemic" of use among teens. He said the impact of the rampant use of e-cigarettes "is becoming very apparent".

"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products", Gottlieb said. That would block manufacturers from selling the flavored devices without explicit FDA authorization - a move that could force some products off the market, at least temporarily. Philip Morris rose the most in more than three years.

"Juul was a game changer", Myers said in an interview. Another study found that e-cigarettes are "no more or no less" effective than nicotine patches when used to help stop smoking. The four others are owned by cigarette companies.


Organizations from around the country have been looking into whether the marketing tactics used by these companies lure teens specifically. No flavors now are restricted from other tobacco products.

Comments