FDA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes

FDA mulls ban on flavored e-cigarettes

The FDA may also limit the sale of certain flavored products, Gottlieb said. He said the problem had reached "epidemic proportion".

In a release, the FDA said it's taking "historic action" against companies that it believes promotes use and addiction of their products to young vapers.

The FDA noted that, over the past few years, e-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco product by youth.

Shares of British American Tobacco were up almost 6 percent and shares of cigarette-maker Imperial Brands PLC were up more than 3 percent. British American, which produces Camel cigarettes, climbed as much as 6.4 percent in London, the biggest intraday increase in 10 years. They also show that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive, and that the other chemicals added as part of the flavoring might be harmful.

"This could result in a bullet through the head of Juul, the driver of youth initiation", said Nico von Stackelberg, an analyst with Liberum in London.

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

"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said, without disclosing the evidence.

He also notes that while many adults who use e-cigarettes report that these products helped them stop smoking combustible tobacco, "the benefits of vaping devices for cessation has not yet been borne out at the population level in clinical or observational studies".

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"There is no question that a lot of the youth use is being driven by Juul", Gottlieb said.

The Juul in particular resembles a USB drive, making it easy for teenagers to hide and even bring to school.

E-cigarettes are vapor-emitting devices that have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry in the US despite little research on their long-term effects, including whether they are helpful in helping smokers quit. To address the trend, the agency set a 60-day deadline for the five major tobacco manufacturers to provide a plan describing how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products.

However, he seemed reluctant to give up on flavored nicotine, because he said it appeals to adult cigarette smokers. But spokeswoman Victoria Davis said "appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch".

Logic Technology Development, owned by Japan Tobacco Inc, said it will demonstrate to the FDA "that Logic markets its products only to adults".

The FDA has given five companies - Vuse, Blu, JuuL, MarkTen XL, and Logic- 60 days to come up with a plan to keep teenagers from using its devices and sent warning letters to 1,300 companies that it caught selling the device to minors. Regulators said it was the largest coordinated crackdown in the agency's history.

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. 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.

The other companies also said they would work with the FDA on youth prevention efforts. Otherwise, the FDA could require the tobacco makers to stop selling the flavored products that appealed to children. The FDA is investigating whether some products on the market were introduced after the 2016 date and may need to halt sales, though didn't name which ones may be violating the law.

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