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Companies Are Warned Over Rising Number of Young Vapers

16 Septembre 2018

The Food and Drug Administration is looking to crack down on flavored e-cigarettes since the surge in teenage use of the products.

The FDA stated that although e-cigarettes can potentially help adult smokers move away from traditional cigarettes, that effort can't come at the expense of a whole new generation becoming addicted to nicotine.

During the 60-day waiting period, the FDA plans to investigate the five companies' marketing and sales practices, with possible "boots on the ground inspections", Gottlieb said. Juul makes up about 70 percent of the market. FDA officials says they'll be monitoring manufacturer's internet store fronts for straw purchases, and will file criminal charges if warranted.

The announcement was immediately hailed by anti-tobacco advocates. "This starts with the actions we're taking today to crack down on retail sales of e-cigarettes to minors", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

However, Gottlieb claims e-cigarette brands haven't done enough to stop kids from using the products.

"On a large scale, I don't think the evidence is there to say that they are an effective smoking cessation tool".

According to the company's website, the mission of JUUL products is to improve the lives of the world's 1 billion adult smokers.

Under regulations developed by the Obama administration, manufacturers were supposed to submit most products for review by August 2018. "It is absolutely absurd and a perversion of how regulatory agencies are supposed to approach their work".

"We've gone a long way toward curbing smoking in society, and then something like the e-cigarette comes along and we are essentially normalizing smoking again", said Phillips. Many researchers say the devices are less unsafe than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco's cancer-causing ingredients. E-cigarette sales have threatened Big Tobacco companies. The research, a collaboration between scientists at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and pediatricians from Stony Brook Children's Hospital, also reveals that Juul and similar products contain high concentrations of a modified, salt form of nicotine, which is more readily absorbed upon inhalation.

Over the past several years, e-cigarettes (vaping) were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth. I smoked for 15 years.

NPR health correspondent Rob Stein has been reporting on this.

"We are evaluating [the] request and statement from the FDA".

The FDA said it has sent more than 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to under-age vapers and issued fines to another 131 shops.

Now, Gottlieb is coordinating the largest scale initiative to enforce regulations against selling e-cigarettes to-date. Will the FDA be willing to take stronger action? The emphasis on stopping marketing to kids was underway even before the summer. People below the poverty line are about 60 percent more likely to smoke than people above the poverty line.

CORNISH: What prompted all this?

This use by children and teens is a concern to the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction. "The availability of e-cigarettes can not come at the expense of addicting a new generation of youth onto nicotine, and it won't", he said in an interview.

"I wouldn't say they are harmless but we haven't had the opportunity to evaluate the real risks", he said. (He uses e-cigarettes) not so much as a cure-all, be-all, 100-percent healthy product.

He also added to up saying, "No one can look at the data and say there's no problem".

CORNISH: You mentioned the antitobacco activists. How do they see all this?

If they don't, the FDA might compel them. But Gottlieb said the easy availability of e-cigarettes is hitting teens. So far, it's a lot of asking companies to do things voluntarily. And the FDA has a lot of power to order these companies to do things about these devices.

CORNISH: And what's the reply from the FDA about that? There's no reason for the FDA (or really any government) to be involved in trying to ban or restrict vaping. "But in closing the on-ramp for kids, we're going to have to narrow the on-ramp for adults".

"There is just a lot we don't know". Those products could include e-cigarettes, though the FDA has not given any company permission to advertise its device as a quit-smoking aid. Leave it up to individual stores and parents to make sure teens aren't experimenting with vaping pens and E-cigarettes.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Rob Stein.

Companies Are Warned Over Rising Number of Young Vapers