On Wednesday, the head of the US Food and Drug Administration condemned the behaviour of Juul and other e-cigarette manufacturers, telling those companies that they must take steps in the next couple of months to show how they’ll keep the devices out of the possession of young people.
Mentioning the widespread rise in teen use of e-cigarettes, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner, cautioned that the FDA may call for companies to change their sales and marketing practices. This would stop them dispensing products to retailers who sell to children, and take away flavoured e-cigarette products from the market.
Gottlieb stated:”I use the word epidemic with great care,”. Then he added: “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teens. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”
The FDA revealed that Logic, Blu, Juul, MarkTen and Vuse control 97% of the e-cigarette market. The FDA plans to investigate the five e-cigarette companies’ over next sixty days, looking at their marketing and sales practices. With Gottlieb adding there could be “boots on the ground inspections”. The agency will also be intensifying federal enforcement actions on e-cig sales to minors in convenience stores and other retail sites, Gottlieb said. There will also be rising federal enforcement attention on e-cig sales to young people in shops and on websites. On Wednesday, it announced action will be taken against more than 1,300 retailers who illegally sold Juul and other e-cigarettes to children.
Research shows that E-cigarettes help adult smokers quit cigarettes, and decreases the risk of developing illnesses by giving them their nicotine fix without the smoke real cigarettes. However, there’s still no certainty on the long-term health effects of vaping.
Over 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017. Youths are more likely than adults to vape, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Gottlieb said on Wednesday: “I’ll be clear. The FDA won’t 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,”. Then adding, “We’re especially focused on the flavoured e-cigarettes. And we’re seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavoured products from the market.”
A Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan was launched in April. It was introduced to address some of the known public health risks of e-cigarettes. The FDA began to target the e-liquids that are marketed to look like to child friendly foods, like juice cartoons and sweets. The agency sent 12 warning letters to another 12 companies that continue to sell the products as part of the new action.
The FDA also directed attention to Juul retailers, releasing 56 warning letters and 6 civil monetary penalties. Dr. Scott Gottlieb stated that it was “largest ever coordinated initiative against violative sales in the history of the FDA.” There are plans to reveal a new e-cigarette public education campaign aimed at today’s youth next week.