FDA declares youth vaping an epidemic, announces investigation, new enforcement

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday declared youth vaping an “epidemic,” and said the agency will halt sales of flavored electronic cigarettes if the major manufacturers can’t prove they are doing enough to keep them out of the hands of children and teens.

The FDA says it’s giving manufacturers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic 60 days to submit “robust” plans to prevent youth vaping. If the agency doesn’t think their plans go far enough, it could order their products off the market. Those five brands make up more than 97 percent of the U.S. market for e-cigarettes, FDA says.

The FDA is “reconsidering our overall approach” after a review of preliminary data on youth vaping, Gottlieb told USA TODAY.

“Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing,” says Gottlieb, a physician. “We’re going to have to take action.”

“No one can look at the data and say there’s no problem,” he says.

More than 2 million middle school, high school and college students use the battery-powered devices to heat liquid-based nicotine into an inhalable vapor. E-cigarettes are by far the most popular tobacco product among teens: Nearly 12 percent of high school students and 3 percent of middle school students used the device in the past 30 days, according to the 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

Some parents want the FDA to go farther.

Kelli Cogan says her 15-year-old son was able to get free Juul cartridges online last year by using his father’s name and birth name and having them shipped to a different address. The Ohio woman says the company offered to block her husband’s name from ordering, but she didn’t think that was sufficient.

Read more at https://www.usatoday.com

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