E-cigarette use is an 'epidemic', FDA chief says

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

The FDA Is Considering Pulling Some Flavored E-Cigarettes From the Market to Fight 'Epidemic' of Youth Vaping

In Boston Public Schools, high school administrators have reported more instances of students in possession of vaping devices at school. "So, now, I'm able to tell them, 'I no longer smoke cigarettes'".

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". Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent. But at the same time, 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.

"Far too many teens are being introduced at an early age to e-cigarettes", said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in the release.

The FDA says it has issued "more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers" as a result of "a large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors".

He said the vaping industry had not taken prior warnings seriously.

Gottlieb said the FDA recognized the impact this might have on adults trying to stop smoking, but said that emerging research on how flavored products encourage excessive use by young people shows action must be taken.

The appeal of e-cigarettes to teens is widespread and has raised alarms in other countries, including the UK.

State health department officials continue to be anxious about JUUL, a device that looks like a flash drive, which they say dominates more than 70 percent of the e-cigarette market.

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It has warned that most such products contain nicotine, which is addictive and can affect brain development.

If the plans fall short, the FDA could block sales of the products by enforcing a requirement that companies provide detailed design and health data about their products before marketing them.

The FDA discovered that top-selling brands like JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen XL, blu e-cigs, and Logic were popular among minors.

He said the FDA move could "represent a fundamental turning point" if the agency requires "all of these products undergo premarket review now, not four years from now". We think right now we can step into this market with a combination of enforcement actions against the places that we know kids are getting access to these products, which includes retail establishments that are selling them without putting proper restrictions in place or without carding minors, as well as the online sites, where we think that there are a straw purchases being made, where - where someone's going online, buying a lot of these products, and then reselling them to kids.

In July 2017, the FDA said it was considering lowering nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes.

And vaping products, including Juul and other brands, use fruity and candy-like flavors to attract users.

In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, created to address some of the known public health risks, such as flavors, that contribute to adolescent use of e-cigarettes.

The other companies also said they would work with the FDA on youth prevention efforts.

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