E-cig use among teens an ‘epidemic,’ FDA says

FDA combating e-cigarette ‘epidemic’ among teens

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Food and Drug Administration has referred to e-cigarettes as an ‘epidemic’ as teen use increases.

“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teenagers,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement to CNBC. “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. The FDA cannot tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a trade off for enabling adults to access these products.”

FDA officials are concerned over e-cig brands catering to children with fruity flavors, with many teens using them not knowing of the nicotine inside.

FDA has ordered brands Juul, Vase, MarkTen, Blu and Logic to submit a plan to cut teen use of their products. They have 60 days to do such.

"This isn't our choice alone," Gottlieb said. "I've been warning the electronic cigarette industry for more than a year that they needed to do much more to stem the youth trends. In my view, they treated these issues like a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations, the public health mandate, and the existential threat to these products."

The agency has sent warning letters to over 1,000 retailers over selling e-cigarettes to minors, and fined 131 retailers over the sales.

The FDA is also considering restricting sales of flavored nicotine liquid. Gottlieb said “everything is on the table,” in reference to working to cut teen e-cig usage.

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