FDA Considering Ban on Flavored E-cigarettes

Ben Davidson
September 13, 2018

That tradeoff is not just unfortunate; it is morally unacceptable and scientifically suspect.

The five brands account for 97 per cent of e-cigarette sales in the United States.

However, Gottlieb claims e-cigarette brands haven't done enough to stop kids from using the products.

"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.

Gottlieb announced the agency sent 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, and issued 131 fines to stores that continued to violate the restrictions on sales to minors. But it's not clear how quickly the decision could be reversed.

"The legal standard for FDA premarket review of a new tobacco product includes consideration of whether the product would be appropriate for the protection of the public health".

She said Altria could be well positioned because it has a long history of dealing with youth access to its products and has "limited/mature flavor profiles relative to Juul".

However, he seemed reluctant to give up on flavored nicotine, because he said it appeals to adult cigarette smokers. The upshot could be less switching and therefore more smoking-related deaths. They noted the survey did not ask specifically about Juul, a sleek, heavily-marketed e-cigarette brand that exploded onto the market and accounts for 70 percent of US sales, according to analyst estimates. The number of regular users is much smaller, and nearly all of them are current or former smokers.

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Youth vaping is an "epidemic", as far as the FDA is concerned, and if manufacturers don't submit "robust" plans to prevent kids from getting their hands on flavored e-cigarettes, the agency will take action-possibly going so far as to order the flavored products off the shelves.

To the extent that teenagers who otherwise would be smoking are vaping instead, that is an unambiguous gain in public health terms, since the latter habit is much less unsafe.

"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.

The ability of manufacturers to prevent underage consumption is, in any case, pretty limited.

Manufacturers offer and market e-cigarette flavors that appeal to minors, including candy, bubble gum, and fruit flavors. E-cigs deliver lower toxin levels than regular cigarettes, but users can inhale more of the addictive stimulant nicotine.

The federal government is threatening to eliminate that alternative even while tolerating conventional cigarettes, which are far more hazardous and also end up in the mouths of people who are not old enough to buy them legally. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies that it says have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids.

This is the latest in a series of steps the FDA is taking to limit children's use of e-cigarettes, which has "reached an epidemic proportion" in the U.S., FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb announced Wednesday.

In a release, the FDA said it's taking "historic action" against companies that it believes promotes use and addiction of their products to young vapers.

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