FDA Takes ‘Historic Action’ Against Selling Juul, Other E-Cigarettes To Minors

Maricruz Casares
Setiembre 12, 2018

USA health officials say teenage use of e-cigarettes has reached "epidemic" levels and are calling on the industry to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market. Since past year, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other federal officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes, although that benefit hasn't been proven. In a speech in Washington, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced a number of steps the government planned to take as part of a broader crackdown on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.

The move comes in response to an "epidemic" of young people using e-cigarettes. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies they declared have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids. "We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine".

But Gottlieb acknowledged Wednesday that the agency failed to predict an "epidemic of addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

Shares of British American Tobacco were up almost 6 percent and shares of cigarette-maker Imperial Brands PLC were up more than 3 percent.

Under Wednesday's announcement, the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to reverse underage use of their products.

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The FDA is also targeting retailers who have sold e-cigarettes to minors.

The FDA also requested Juul and four other manufacturers provide plans to mitigate youth sales within 60 days or face potential criminal or civil action. The companies sell Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic e-cigarette brands, which account for 97 percent of USA e-cigarette sales, according to FDA. "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".

"The continued increase in youth reporting feeling "hooked" on vaping devices is concerning", he told CBS News. The FDA said more than 2 million middle school and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2017.

The agency said it allowed the extra time to strike an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging the development of innovative tobacco products that may help older smokers quit.

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