FDA takes action against e-cigarette epidemic among youth

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

The FDA has given five companies - Vuse, Blu, JuuL, MarkTen XL, and Logic- 60 days to come up with a plan to keep teenagers from using its devices and sent warning letters to 1,300 companies that it caught selling the device to minors.

"I have grown increasingly concerned around what we see as rising youth use in these products, and I'm disappointed in the actions the companies have taken to try to address this", Gottlieb said in an interview.

"E-cigs have become an nearly ubiquitous - and unsafe - trend among teens", Gottlieb said in a statement.

"We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine", he said.

Juul Labs, which controls about 70% of the market, said in its statement that "appropriate flavors" play a role in adults changing their smoking habits, but added that they "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".

"If young adults go online and buy 100 units of a product to sell to teens, that activity ought to be easy for a product manufacturer to identify", said Gottlieb.

"We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement.

During the 60-day waiting period, the FDA plans to investigate the five companies' marketing and sales practices, with possible "boots on the ground inspections", Gottlieb said.

According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years.

E-cigarettes, aside from the occasional exploding piece of tech, are often considered by experts, including the FDA, to be potentially safer alternatives to conventional puff tubes.

"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced past year".

"What we have learned from our experience with cigarettes and other products, is it is important to restrict sales to kids, but if you make products appealing to kids, market them in ways to attract kids, you can be certain kids will get them", Myers told AFP. "Hindsight, and the data that's now available to us, fully reveal these trends".

The commissioner has repeatedly agreed that e-cigarettes can be an effective tool for adults trying to quit smoking, so his harsh words for the industry on Wednesday were all the more remarkable. Big tobacco has yet to find a productive way to meaningfully compete against Juul, making the FDA's move a positive for the companies, according to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer. "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".

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Republican Sen.

The FDA also issued 12 warning letters to other online retailers "selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies".

Investors in Juul's competitors appeared to welcome the FDA announcement. Since previous 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.

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