FDA proposed crackdown on flavored e-cigs puts Juul on notice

Glen Mclaughlin
September 14, 2018

Despite the constant warnings that increased experimentation with e-cigarettes would lead to more smoking, consumption of conventional cigarettes by teenagers stubbornly continues to decline, reaching a record low previous year in the Monitoring the Future Study, which began in 1975. We must factor in whether these products get kids addicted to nicotine.

The FDA said it remains committed to exploring e-cigarettes as a less-harmful alternative for adult smokers, but Gottlieb added "that work can't come at the expense of kids".

The FDA is calling the use of e-cigarettes by young people an epidemic.

"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said.

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

The FDA's suggestions include rigorous age verification procedures for online direct sales (which Juul, the market leader, says it already has) and "discontinuing sales to retail establishments that have been subject to an FDA civil monetary penalty for sale of tobacco products to minors within the prior 12 months". "This could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law".

And if the trends in use that we're seeing right now continue, we're going to have to take even more dramatic actions. The "epidemic" perceived by the FDA is mainly an epidemic of e-cigarette experimentation, and even that trend seems to have reversed, judging from the latest NYTS results.

He said "everything is on the table", including criminal charges.

More news: Larger iPhones revealed: Dual SIM XS, XS Max in new gold, 512GB
More news: Hurricane tracker: Florence to hit USA as 'major hurricane' within days
More news: Manslaughter Warrant Issued for Officer Who Killed Botham Jean

While applauding the FDA for today's actions, some said the agency should increase its efforts to protect the nation's youth from the dangers of vaping.

"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.

Then past year, a few months after being sworn in as commissioner, Gottlieb announced a new comprehensive tobacco framework.

Tobacco investors have grown increasingly concerned that the widespread popularity of e-cigarettes is having a negative impact on the old-school industry, a headwind expected to grow as its products from companies like Juul continue gaining traction with consumers. "Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing", Gottlieb tells USA Today.

The agency said it plans to unveil a new e-cigarette public education campaign targeted to youth next week, and will soon announce wider access to new nicotine replacement therapies to help more adult smokers quit cigarettes.

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

In addition, the FDA on Wednesday issued 12 warning letters to online retailers for selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER