The FDA Blames This Popular Trend For Current Health 'Epidemic'

Alicia Farmer
September 14, 2018

"I'll be clear. The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products", Gottlieb said.

"I now have good reason to believe that it's reached nothing short of an epidemic proportion of growth", Gottlieb said.

Multiple studies have showed e-cig users are twice as likely to become cigarette smokers, the health department said.

Despite the fact that they can not legally be sold to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes - hand-held vaporizers that create aerosols from liquids typically packed with nicotine and other chemicals, often including flavorings - are now the most popular tobacco product among high school students, recent federal data shows.

Juul and four other manufacturers, which Gottlieb said control 97% of the market, are now required to provide plans to mitigate youth sales within 60 days or face potential criminal or civil action.

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

"I've been warning the e-cigarette industry for more than a year that they needed to do much more to stem the youth trends", he said.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the plan Wednesday, saying the agency is giving the manufacturers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, Blu, and Logic-which make up more than 97% of the U.S. e-cigarette market-60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports. 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.

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"Today we can see that this epidemic of addiction was emerging when we first announced our plan last summer", said Gottlieb.

"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.

"JUUL Labs will work proactively with FDA in response to its request", a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement.

San Francisco-based Juul said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit. "Hindsight, and the data now available to us, reveal these trends". But this "fundamental turning point" will produce results only if the agency follows through by requiring all manufacturers to immediately undergo pre-market review at the FDA, he added. That could lead to removal of some major flavored e-cigarette brands, including the popular products made by Juul Labs Inc., if they do not address the issue to the agency's satisfaction.

The agency plans to issue data showing "substantial increase" in youth using e-cigarettes - otherwise known as vaping - this year compared with 2017.

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".

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