Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Teenagers' use of e-cigarettes at epidemic levels - U.S. health officials

Teenagers' use of e-cigarettes at epidemic levels - U.S. health officials

Next week, the FDA will launch a campaign to warn young people about the danger of nicotine use. "The FDA may perchance perchance no longer tolerate an complete generation of children changing into hooked on nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to non-public unfettered access to these same merchandise", Gottlieb said.

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.

The five e-cigarette brands account for more than 97% of e-cigarette sales, according to the FDA. 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.

The announcement was immediately hailed by anti-tobacco advocates.

Since 2017, FDA officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes.

The companies say they are working with the FDA to prevent young people from using their devices.

The steps announced Wednesday are just the initial elements of these new efforts, Gottlieb said. Under regulations finalized in 2016, manufacturers of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine products that fuel the devices were supposed to file applications to the FDA by August of this year.

Still, David Eaton, who headed the committee that wrote the report, told NPR "there is conclusive evidence that most products emit a variety of potentially toxic substances". About two-thirds of them quit after beginning to use Juul.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. This decision put restrictions on how vape companies can advertise, prevented them from handing out free samples and eventually will require products to clear an FDA review in order to stay on the market.

ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Hey there.

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"We are evaluating [the] request and statement from the FDA". The agency also issued 12 warning letters to online retailers that are selling or advertising flavored vapor inserts for e-cigarettes in a way that might be misleading to kids, such as offering candy and cookie flavors.

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.

In addition to these new actions, the FDA had previously issued more than 60 warning letters and fines to businesses that sold JUUL brand products to minors stemming from another enforcement blitz in the spring.

CORNISH: So that's the action they took against sellers.

The company has stressed that the device was created for adults who want to transition from regular cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strongly considering banning all flavored e-cigarettes. The agency had for decades had no power to regulate cigarettes or other tobacco products, but Congress passed a law in 2009 giving FDA limited power to do so.

CORNISH: What prompted all this?

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the press release that the "youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion". The academy said Gottlieb has the authority to intervene in the market to protect minors, and any further delay runs the risk that "a generation of young people will become addicted to these unsafe products". A primary concern for health experts is that kids will become addicted to nicotine and graduate to traditional cigarettes, putting them at risk for lung cancer. Adults tend to use bulkier "open tank" vaping products, he noted.

"We need to go further", said Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire philanthropist who has worked for years to reduce tobacco use. And so if we make them harder to get, that could make it harder for people to kick the habit.

The FDA will also look closely at "straw purchases", in which adults visit web-based stores and buy in bulk to resell to minors.

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