United States government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

US plans crackdown on e-cigarette firms citing 'epidemic' teen use

US government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

"These five brands now comprise over 97 percent of the US market for e-cigarettes", the FDA said.

The FDA is also targeting retailers who have sold e-cigarettes to minors. The FDA is alarmed that, according to the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), "more than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017".

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. "The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we're seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end". The agency is giving e-cigarette companies 60 days to come up with a plan for reducing use of their products among minors. Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent.

In a statement, Juul Labs said "appropriate flavors" play a role in adults changing their smoking habits, but said it would work with the FDA: "We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people".

"Our mission is to improve the lives of adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes", Juul said in a statement. In a speech in Washington, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced a number of steps the government planned to take as part of a broader crackdown on the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children. 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.

He said the FDA move could "represent a fundamental turning point" if the agency requires "all of these products undergo premarket review now, not four years from now". They noted the survey did not ask specifically about Juul, a sleek, heavily-marketed e-cigarette brand that exploded onto the market and accounts for 70 percent of US sales, according to analyst estimates.

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. The FDA's delay on that requirement has allowed the industry to flourish with little oversight. But it's not clear how quickly the decision could be reversed.

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The FDA discovered that top-selling brands like JUUL, Vuse, MarkTen XL, blu e-cigs, and Logic were popular among minors.

Shares of British American Tobacco were up almost 6 percent and shares of cigarette-maker Imperial Brands PLC were up more than 3 percent.

To report a retailer selling tobacco products to underage customers, submit an online form on the FDA's website.

The FDA is in the process of rolling out a sweeping anti-smoking initiative created to make it easier for smokers to quit by cutting the nicotine levels in regular cigarettes.

"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement.

"In my view, they treated these issues like a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations, the public health mandate, and the existential threat to these products". Former smokers who vape may return to traditional cigarettes if flavored e-cigarettes are no longer available.

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

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