(WILX) – The Food and Drug Administration is looking for ways to combat the increase in the amount of teens using e-cigarettes, including possible drug therapies. Right now there are no FDA-approved nicotine cessation products for e-cigarette users under 18.
“A few years ago, it would have been incredible to me that we’d be here, discussing the potential for drug therapy to help addicted youth vapors to quit,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows use has increased by nearly 80% among high school students and almost 50% among middle schoolers.
“These products deliver very high levels of nicotine, meaning that even brief experimentation is likely to put adolescents at risk for long-term dependence,” said Dr. Susanne Tanski of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “For those teens already dependent on e-cigarrettes, clinicians urgently require new solutions to safely and effectively help stop them using these and all tobacco products for good.”
During a public hearing at FDA headquarters Friday, Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb warned the industry will face an “existential threat” if the trend continues. He also said the debate may go from whether the fruity flavors should be sold, to if e-cigarettes can even stay on the market at all.
“It really could be ‘game over’ for these products until they can successfully traverse the regulatory process,” said Dr. Gottlieb. “I think the stakes are quite literally that high, and would be a blow for all of the currently addicted adult smokers who, I believe, could potentially benefit from these products.”
However, those on the other side of the debate say the FDA should not pull e-cigarettes off store shelves because they help adults who want to quit smoking combustible cigarettes.
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