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

FDA takes ‘historic action’ on youth e-cigarette ‘epidemic’	 	 	 			The teen vaping epidemic has made its mark in high schools

The FDA is giving the five top-selling e-cigarette brands - Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic - 60 days to provide plans for how they will mitigate sales to minors.

"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 use the word epidemic with great care", Gottlieb said. E-cigs have become an nearly ubiquitous? and risky? trend among teens.

'We won't allow the current trends in youth access and use to continue, even if it means putting limits in place that reduce adult uptake of these products, ' Gottlieb said. The FDA took the largest enforcement action against more than 1,300 retailers and five manufacturers of selling e-cigarettes on Wednesday. If the blueprints don't promise to "substantially reverse" the youth-use trend, Gottlieb said the agency will consider steps that could lead to the temporary or permanent removal of flavored products from the market.

In 2017, Minnesota high-school tobacco use spiked to 26 percent with e-cigarette use by those in that age range increasing by 50 percent in the last three years, the health department said in a Wednesday, Sept. 12, news release.

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 United States e-cigarette market-60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports. Teen use of electronic cigarettes is growing-especially the Juul device, which is considered so fetch in many underage circles that it has reached an "epidemic proportion", writes the FDA, according to the New York Times.

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"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced a year ago". So we don't want to - we don't want to extinguish this opportunity entirely, because we do see some potential benefit from having these products on the market as a way for adult smokers to get access to nicotine, without all the harmful effects of combusting tobacco.

Gottlieb warned action may require companies to change their sales and marketing practices; stop distributing products to retailers who sell to kids; and remove "some or all of their flavored e-cig products from the market". Former smokers who vape may return to traditional cigarettes if flavored e-cigarettes are no longer available.

"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. Regulators are considering restricting e-cigarette manufacturers from selling flavored nicotine liquid or forcing the products to undergo an agency review, as reported by CNBC.

And vaping products, including Juul and other brands, use fruity and candy-like flavors to attract users. In 2016, the agency "deemed" that products such as e-cigarettes also were under its jurisdiction and told companies to file applications to market their products by August 2018.

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

Gottlieb noted that the FDA continues to support the availability of products to help adult smokers quit, but 'that work can't come at the expense of kids, ' he said.

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