WASH/LA-The Food and Drug Administration said on September 12-they are considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in response to an "epidemic" of young people using e-cigarettes, the agency's leader said.
According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years.
The organisation warned the country's five largest e-cigarette makers that their products - Juul, Blu, MarkTen, Vuse and Logic - could be banned unless the companies could prove within 60 days that they had effective plans to stop sales to children.
Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and research shows that young adults who smoke or who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to binge drink than nonsmokers, the health department said. "In the coming weeks, we'll take additional action under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to immediately address the youth access to, and the appeal of, these products".
E-cigarettes are vapor-emitting devices that have grown into a multibillion dollar industry in the United States, despite little research on their long-term effects, including whether they are helpful in helping smokers quit. 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.
Those broader recommendations would constrain the ability of e-cigarette companies to reach adult smokers and make ENDS less appealing to them. "We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine". That could lead to removal of some major flavored e-cigarette brands, including the popular products made by Juul Labs Inc., if they do not address the issue to the agency's satisfaction.
Stressing that the FDA need to properly evaluate the public health impacts such products have before they can approve them, Gottlieb noted that the speed in which e-cigarettes have appeared and spread hasn't given them enough time to do just that. Several of the retailers also were cited for illegally selling the products to minors.
Last year, the FDA announced that it would delay regulations that could have halted the sales of many e-cigarettes.
"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", Gottlieb said.
"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said, without disclosing the evidence.
E-cigarettes, aside from the occasional exploding piece of tech, are often considered by experts, including the FDA, to be potentially safer alternatives to conventional puff tubes.
"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products", Gottlieb said.
In addition, the FDA on Wednesday issued 12 warning letters to online retailers for selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies.
While applauding the FDA for today's actions, some said the agency should increase its efforts to protect the nation's youth from the dangers of vaping.
A representative from Logic told UPI: "We have received the request for information from the FDA and will continue to work with the agency to show that Logic markets its products only to adults".
The FDA point out that, despite lacking tobacco and plenty of the nasties present in normal cigarettes, nicotine itself is hardly a benign substance.