FDA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes

The insane adverts who told millions smoking was healthy

The insane adverts who told millions smoking was healthy

Despite the fact that they can not legally be sold to anyone under 18, e-cigarettes - hand-held vaporizers that create aerosols from liquids typically packed with nicotine and other chemicals, often including flavorings - are now the most popular tobacco product among high school students, recent federal data shows.

Of the 3.6 million middle- and high-school students who said they are tobacco-product users, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many use fruit- or candy-flavored liquids that critics say appeal to kids, and risk addicting them to nicotine. That could lead to removal of some major flavored e-cigarette brands, including the popular products made by Juul Labs Inc., if they do not address the issue to the agency's satisfaction.

Gottlieb announced the agency sent 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, and issued 131 fines to stores that continued to violate the restrictions on sales to minors.

But FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency did not predict an "epidemic of addiction" among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

It marks a shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes. Despite the constant warnings that increased experimentation with e-cigarettes would lead to more smoking, consumption of conventional cigarettes by teenagers stubbornly continues to decline, reaching a record low past year in the Monitoring the Future Study, which began in 1975.

The FDA said it remains committed to exploring e-cigarettes as a less-harmful alternative for adult smokers, but Gottlieb added "that work can't come at the expense of kids".

Budding research on e-cigarettes also suggests that these flavors contain terpenes that may be more damaging to the lungs than other flavors are.

"I have grown increasingly concerned around what we see as rising youth use in these products, and I'm disappointed in the actions the companies have taken to try to address this", Gottlieb said in an interview.

If the plans fall short, the FDA could block sales of the products by enforcing a requirement that companies provide detailed design and health data about their products before marketing them.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said that e-cigarettes, while still harmful, may be effective for adults who want to give up cigarette smoking, which kills nearly half a million Americans each year.

Shares of Big Tobacco companies surged in trading Wednesday.

Shares of Altria, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes in the USA, rose as much as 5.3 percent to $62.60 in NY, the biggest intraday gain in eight years. "By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, and we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission". It was "the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA's history", according to the agency.

The FDA is trying to set up a framework for regulating e-cigarettes.

Gottlieb is remarkably cavalier about throwing adult smokers under the bus in the name of preventing adolescents from experimenting with e-cigarettes.

On Wednesday, Gottlieb criticized e-cigarette companies' handling of the underage use problem, saying they approached it as "a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations".

Those broader recommendations would constrain the ability of e-cigarette companies to reach adult smokers and make ENDS less appealing to them.