Parents should note FDA warning about vaping

Parents should note FDA warning about vaping

"For the first time ever, we are bringing the campaign into high schools to the point of contact where they are doing the behavior", said Kathy Crosby, who directs the Office of Health Communication and Education at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.

The "hard-hitting" advertising, which will detail the risky chemicals that e-cigarettes can contain, will also appear on social media and websites that are popular with teens, including YouTube, Pandora and Instagram.

Meanwhile, the FDA is also ferreting out retailers who sell vaping products to minors, sending more than 1,100 warning letters to stores caught selling e-cigarettes to minors and levying fines on 131 repeat offenders.

The FDA hopes that requiring tobacco companies to dramatically cut nicotine in traditional cigarettes will encourage people to, if not quit, at least transition onto e- cigarettes, nicotine gums or patches, lowering their risks of cancer and serious respiratory ailments.

"No youth should ever use e-cigs", Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said in a video during Tuesday's announcement.

The FDA is giving the five largest e-cigarette makers - Juul, Vuse, Blu, MarkTen XL and Logic - 60 days to submit plans to curb sales of their products to underage consumers. Some fear that "vaping" might serve as a gateway to using other tobacco products.

Of course, Altria and others risk having their own e-cigs banned too, but analysts say the big tobacco companies are in a much better position. In fact, more than 2 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2017, according to the FDA. Most e-cigarettes use replaceable, liquid-filled cartridges that come in a variety of flavors. A government-commissioned report in January found "substantial evidence" that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes. "E-cigs have become an nearly ubiquitous - and unsafe - trend among teens", Gottlieb said. Previously, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb had said e-cigarettes and vape pens could be a tool to help adult smokers to quit smoking cigarettes.

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"We've had to start taking some actions before the final results of this data can be made public". But we have an obligation to act on what we know. The effort will include digital, social media and school ads. It's previously been shown that teens who smoke regular cigarettes are more likely to consume cannabis. If that's the case they want to market to that age group.

"Today's teens were on the cusp of being the first generation to broadly reject cigarette smoking but instead have become hooked on nicotine due to a decade of lax oversight over e-cigarette products", she added.

Thomas Eissenberg, Director of the Center, says E-cigarettes are one of their concerns.

But fruit and other kid-friendly flavors and compact, stylish e-cigarette designs have drawn youth to vaping, and public health officials have noted big upticks over the last couple of years.

"But we may have to narrow the off-ramp for adults to close the on-ramp for kids".

The new ad campaign is funded by user fees collected from the tobacco industry - not taxpayers, FDA said. That's what the nation's top health officials at the Food and Drug Administration announced last week as it ordered e-cigarette manufacturers to stop advertising their products to teens.

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