FDA announces new enforcement actions on e-cigarette sales to youth

FDA asks Juul if it markets e-cigs to teens, cracks down on retailers selling to minors

The FDA is cracking down on underage use of vaping devices and e-cigarettes.

Some of these e-cigarettes are so easy to hide, kids are using them at school. Yesterday, the FDA began a promised crackdown on the e-cigarettes, issuing warnings to 40 retail and online stores as part of a month-long operation against illegal sales of Juul to children. "The troubling reality is that electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes have become wildly popular with kids", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.

"Let me be clear to retailers", Gottlieb wrote. "This blitz, and resulting actions, should serve as notice that we will not tolerate the sale of any tobacco products to youth".

"We appreciate that Juul Labs has already expressed recognition of this problem and has reached out to the FDA and other stakeholders to discuss these concerns", Gottlieb said. The company produces an e-cigarette device that's about the size of a thumb drive.

E-cigarettes contain "e-liquid" that may contain nicotine and changes to an aerosol when heated.

The FDA is requesting from Juul Labs: documents related to product marketing; research on the health, toxicological, behavioral or physiologic effects of the products, including youth initiation and use; whether certain product design features, ingredients or specifications appeal to different age groups; and youth-related adverse events and consumer complaints associated with the products. "We already have in place programs to identify and act upon these violations at retail and online marketplaces, and we will have more aggressive plans to announce in the coming days", the statement read.

On Wednesday, the company announced it will take additional actions to combat underage use of its products.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it launched a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to minors, particularly those developed by Juul Labs Inc.

JUUL also said it will invest $30 million over the next three years in independent research on the "scientific and societal implications" of vapor products and to support youth and parent education and community engagement efforts.

"We want to be a leader in seeking solutions, and are actively engaged with, and listening to, community leaders, educators and lawmakers on how best to effectively keep young people away from JUUL".

"It is no secret that big tobacco companies will stop at nothing to hook young people on their addictive and unsafe products", Durbin and the senators wrote to FDA's Commissioner. "Honey might be considered", is a line from a 1972 memo from a consultant to Brown & Williamson in a chilling nine-page compendium - "Tobacco Industry Quotes on Nicotine Addiction" - published on SWAT, a section of the Oklahoma state website described as its "youth movement to expose Big Tobacco's lies and deceptive practices".

Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, praised the FDA for taking action.

"With employees, we stress enough about how it's mandatory they have to card", Ratti said. "We have seen them".

While the FDA gained authority to regulate e-cigarettes in 2016, many anti-smoking advocates have criticized the organization for not more aggressively monitoring these companies' practices. But the agency made a decision to delay regulations until 2022 as part of a plan to overhaul tobacco regulations.

Miller is working with the company JUUL Labs to assemble a group of public officials and tobacco control individuals to work on keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.

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