FDA: Teen Vaping Has Reached ‘Epidemic’ Levels

Modesto Morganelli
Settembre 14, 2018

The four others are owned by cigarette companies. Many researchers say the devices are less unsafe than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco's cancer-causing ingredients. "These five brands now comprise over 97 percent of the USA market for e-cigarettes", the FDA said.

The agency also ordered 12 online retailers to halt their continued marketing of e-liquids resembling kid-friendly products like candy and cookies. The agency also has issued more than 135 No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, which can result in retailers being prohibited from selling tobacco products for specified time periods.

The agency has so far issued fines to 131 retailers, ranging from $279 to $11,182.

"Tooday, we can see that this epidemic of addiction was emerging when we first announced our plan last summer", Gottlieb said.

More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017, the FDA said, and e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth.

That, in essence, is why the makers of some e-cigarette brands saw their stocks jump Wednesday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a crackdown on the products over concerns about how popular they've become among children. That would block manufacturers from selling the flavored devices without explicit FDA authorization - a move that could force some products off the market, at least temporarily.

And the FDA is examining the availability of flavors.

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said Juul appears "most at risk" because of its "strong appeal to youth and the FDA's comments on flavours". Since previous year, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and other federal officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes, although that benefit hasn't been proven. "The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products".

The FDA singled out Juul in its press release, saying that the company's products are especially popular among, and risky for, high school students.

The latest data, not yet published, show a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students this year compared to 2017. Flavors include mint, mango and creeme.

One manufacturer in the FDA's crosshairs, Juul Labs, said in a statement, "JUUL Labs will work proactively with FDA in response to its request".

While e-cigarettes are thought to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, it's still unclear of the impact of long-term use. As part of that plan, Gottlieb has suggested some smokers could be directed toward alternative products that deliver nicotine without the carcinogens of burning tobacco.

The Vapor Technology Affiliation, which says it represents over 600 vaping producers and distributors, furthermore helps limiting teen access, but added that the original actions by the FDA ventured "into unhealthy territory" by no longer being in essentially the most easy ardour of public successfully being.

Ana Navas-Acien, a Columbia University professor who also tracks the issue, said some form of government regulation is needed "as companies are unlikely to implement voluntary strategies to effectively cut use among youth". Earlier this year, as criticism of the company mounted, it committed $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement. In addition, the agency pushed back until 2022 a deadline for electronic-cigarette companies to submit applications to the FDA.

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 risky.

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