FDA On A Mission To Counter Surge of E-Cigarette Use Among Youth

Minors Using E-Cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans more aggressive actions to address the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.

Acknowledging the use of e-cigarettes among youth hit epidemic proportions, the FDA launched a coordinated enforcement efforts to reverse the trend.

The agency’s commitment to address this prevailing issue was affirmed by FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

In his speech at the agency’s headquarters, Gottlieb said, “We’re committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced last year. But at the same time, we see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger.”

Among its bold historic actions are the massive issuance of more than 1,300 warning letters and civil money penalty complaints (fines) to retailers and manufacturers who illegally sold e-cigarettes to minors nationwide.

Today, we asked five e-cigarette manufacturers to put forward plans to immediately and substantially reverse these trends, or face a potential decision by the FDA to reconsider extending the compliance dates for submission of premarket applications,”Gottlieb announced.

The actions also entail a request for all manufactures to formulate comprehensive plans for curbing youth sales. The scheme may include restricting flavored e-cigarettes, the most-known enticing factor why youth are taking up e-cigarette use.

FDA identified many violations among these five e-cigarette products – Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL, and Logic. These five brands currently comprise over 97 percent of the U.S. market for e-cigarettes.

FDA wants to stop teen e-cigarette use
FDA wants to stop teen e-cigarette use. Photo: Sarah Johnson at flickr

Other Critical Actions

The historic enforcement actions by the FDA included enforcement strategy targeting illegal sales to underage users and kid-friendly marketing.

To stop attracting teens to use e-cigarettes, the FDA also issued 12 warning letters to other online retailers that are selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies.

In addition to these new actions, the FDA had previously issued more than 60 warning letters and penalties to businesses that sold JUUL brand products to minors.

To ensure that retailers are following federal laws, the FDA also continues to conduct checks of retail establishments that sell tobacco products. For this years, the FDA has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated approximately 18,560 civil money penalty cases.

Dangers of e-Cigarettes

Over the past several years, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth. It is an “in thing” among teens. In fact, more than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017.

E-cigarettes are known to have lower toxic chemicals but higher concentrations of nicotine. This becomes an issue of concern for the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.

The FDA now believes that youth use of e-cigarettes is reaching epidemic proportions. This belief is based on not just the results of the agency’s enforcement actions, but also recent sales trends, news coverage, increased concerns among kids, parents and educators, as well as preliminary data that will be finalized and released in the coming months. And FDA believes this should be addressed with bold actions

The FDA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.