Supermarkets cited in crackdown on e-cigarettes

Henrietta Strickland
September 13, 2018

More than 2 million middle-school and high-school students used e-cigarettes in 2017.

But the FDA said it is also investigating whether e-cigarette manufacturers have introduced new products after August 8, 2016, without premarket authorization.

Fontem Ventures, owner of blu, also told Business Insider that it will fully "advocate for both legislation prohibiting sales of vaping products to minors and the ongoing FDA enforcement action against retailers selling e-vapor and other tobacco products to minors". If the FDA sees continued underage use as an argument for banning e-cigarettes, the industry is doomed, even though it offers what the agency recognizes as "an alternative for adult smokers who still seek access to satisfying levels of nicotine, but without all of the harmful effects that come from combustion".

"I use the word epidemic with great care", said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. The companies sell Vuse, Blu, Juul, MarkTen XL, and Logic e-cigarette brands, which account for 97 percent of US e-cigarette sales, according to FDA.

Gottlieb said the FDA recognized the impact this might have on adults trying to stop smoking, but said that emerging research on how flavored products encourage excessive use by young people shows action must be taken.

While e-cigarettes were first marketed to help adults quit smoking combustible cigarettes, they have now become a gateway to nicotine for teenagers.

The warning from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday marks a stark shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes, including the popular Juul brand and others, which have become the most used tobacco product among teenagers. He said in June tobacco companies "better step up and step up soon" but he didn't divulge what consequences the industry could face - until now. That initiative emerged from the agency's broader plan to regulate nicotine and tobacco, unveiled in July 2017, under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Many use fruit- or candy-flavored liquids that critics say appeal to kids, and risk addicting them to nicotine. Failing to do so, or making unsatisfactory efforts, "could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law", the FDA statement says. The FDA is demanding what Gottlieb describes as "plans to immediately and substantially reverse" the "clear and present danger" of adolescent vaping.

Watch Altria and British American Tobacco trade in real time here. But the agency also thinks ENDS makers should consider "revising your current marketing practices to help prevent use by minors" and "removing flavored products from the market until those products can be reviewed by FDA as part of a [pre-market approval application]". Additionally, 12 online retailers were found to be selling vaping products that were "misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products", in violation of an earlier order from the FDA, and were also slapped with warning letters, according to the announcement. The "epidemic" perceived by the FDA is mainly an epidemic of e-cigarette experimentation, and even that trend seems to have reversed, judging from the latest NYTS results.

"I'm here to tell them today that this prior approach is over", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER