FDA outlines aggressive actions to reduce e-cigarette sales to youths

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is dramatically stepping up its efforts to reduce the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to America;’s youth.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency is going after retail and online sellers of e-cigarettes who target minors.

“We sent more than 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors.,” Gottlieb writes in a statement released today. “In addition, we issued another 131 civil money penalties to stores that continued to violate the restrictions on sales to minors.”

Gottlieg calls the rapid growth of e-cigarette use among youth troubling, stating, “we must do more to stem what I see as an epidemic of use of e-cigs among teens, and deeply disturbing trends that show no sign of abating.”

Among other actions, Gottlieb said the FDA would require Juul and four other companies, all of whom control 97 percent of the e-cigarette market, to provide plans in the next 60 days outlining how they will reduce the sales of their products to people under 18.

Another step: Evaluating the use of flavorings in e-cigarettes.

One factor we’re closely evaluating is the availability of characterizing flavors.

“We know that the flavors play an important role in driving the youth appeal,” Gottlieb said. “And in view of the trends underway, we may take steps to curtail the marketing and selling of flavored products. We’re now actively evaluating how we’d implement such a policy.”

You can read Gottlieb’s complete statement here.

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