FDA to limit sales of flavored e-cigarettes

FDA's Center for Tobacco Products

"We won't let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build".

The FDA chief vowed to take all necessary actions to stop these trends from continuing. He also proposed beefing up measures so that convenience stores and some other retailers don't sell e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors like cherry and vanilla.

The battery-powered devices heat a nicotine liquid that users inhale, and are gaining popularity in the United States and overseas, particularly among young people, which Gottlieb has previously described as an "epidemic". "I don't want to create a situation where the combustible products have features that make them more attractive than the non-combustible products or a situation where those who now use menthol-flavored cigarettes might find it less attractive to switch completely to an e-cigarette", he note.

In an open letter issued by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, he described youth use of e-cigarettes as an "epidemic".

The rapid rate of increase in vaping by teens has alarmed USA health officials and prompted Gottlieb to reverse a more hands-off approach taken a year ago.

But the same time we did that, we sought to regulate nicotine and the combustible products, traditional cigarettes to render them minimally or nonaddictive.

Tony Abboud, executive director of the Vapor Technology Association, cautioned that restricting access to flavored products could imperil that possibility. The FDA now bans sales of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to those under 18.

Moreover, Gottlieb adds that he believes that menthol products "disproportionately and adversely affect underserved communities and as a matter of public health, they exacerbate troubling disparities in health related to race and socioeconomic status that are a major concern of mine".

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All e-cigarettes on the market will have to go through a review process.

The menthol ban still has regulatory hurdles to overcome, so removal of those products from the market could take two years, the Times noted.

The e-cigarettes measures will probably face little opposition, but Gottlieb "has guts" to pursue a menthol prohibition because it will draw political and legal fire from the tobacco industry and its supporters, Warner said.

The changes are open to a public comment period lasting until June before they can take effect.

USA regulators are seeking sharp sales restrictions on tobacco products that appeal to young people, but internet users are already looking for ways to get around them.

"Our intent was never to have youth use JUUL products", CEO Kevin Burns said in a statement. But intent is not enough. "We must solve it".

The announcements come after the leading vape maker, Juul Labs, announced Tuesday that it would voluntarily withdraw most flavors of its hugely popular vaping product from the marketplace. The agency seized marketing documents from Juul during a surprise inspection last month.

"The data show that kids using e-cigarettes are going to be more likely to try combustible cigarettes later". "You can approve a product or not for sale but don't get to say where it can be sold". "We'll leave no stone unturned".

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