Feds take action against retailers in e-cigarette 'epidemic'

Feds take action against retailers in e-cigarette 'epidemic'

American health officials threatened to ban flavoured e-cigarettes, warning of a teenage vaping "epidemic".

"We welcome FDA's action today and look forward to sharing our thoughts about how to prevent and reduce youth use, an issue we have focussed on for decades", Altria spokesman George Parman said in a statement.

To that end, the FDA on Wednesday said it has asked Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL and Logic to submit plans within 60 days to describe how they will address widespread youth access and use of their products. 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. "Minors should not use any tobacco or nicotine products, and we fully support and advocate for both legislation prohibiting sales of vaping products to minors and the ongoing FDA enforcement action against retailers selling e-vapor and other tobacco products to minors", the company said in a statement. "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 FDA is in the process of rolling out a sweeping anti-smoking created to make it easier for smokers to quit by cutting the nicotine levels in regular cigarettes.

A loss for public health and win for big tobacco?

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

The commissioner said flavors play a key role in peaking teen interest.

Wednesday, the commissioner of the federal agency said it was investigating if flavored vaping products are unsafe for teens, and need to come off the market. If producers are no longer keen to function the overview, he said, the FDA will function it for them, with acceptable consequences.

The burgeoning popularity of e-cigarettes among young smokers has caused traditional cigarette industry players a great deal of trouble by eating into their market share. He said a main goal in reducing use of e-cigarettes by minors is to fight sales of them to minors. And though the devices may help adults quit smoking, the report said evidence shows their use increases the risk of young people eventually moving to traditional cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced it may force e-cigarette manufacturers to stop selling flavored products, citing what Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called an "epidemic" of youth use.

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 unsafe territory" by not being in the best interest of public health.

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products has always been marked by twists and turns and years of debate. Gottlieb would be on much firmer ethical ground if he took the opposite position: In trying to stop teenagers from vaping, we won't deny adult smokers access to products that could save their lives. This is the largest single enforcement action in agency history. If underage consumption does not justify a ban on tobacco cigarettes (and I don't think it does), it can not possibly justify a ban on competing products that are much safer.

In 2017, more than 2 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes. Above that message is a link to the company's youth-prevention efforts.

Bottles of flavor packets for e-cigarettes stand displayed in a tobacco shop in New York on June 23, 2015.

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids President Matthew Myers offered cautious praise for Gottlieb and the FDA, calling Wednesday's announcement "potentially the most important step FDA has taken to curtail youth use of e-cigarettes".

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