The head of the US Food and Drug Administration took aim Wednesday at Juul and other e-cigarette manufacturers, warning that they must show in the next two months how they'll keep the devices out of the hands of young people.
The government agency has ordered five leading brands, including Juul, which has 72% of the market as of mid-August, according to Wells Fargo, as well as BAT's Vuse, Altria's MarkTen, Imperial's Blue E-cigs and Japan Tobacco's Logic, to submit plans within 60 days detailing how they will combat excessive teen use of their products.
The coming crackdown could spell trouble for companies such as Juul.
"My own work, along with the work of many others, suggests that rising cigarette taxes have been the most effective means of reducing smoking levels in the United States", he said. Many researchers say the devices are less risky than traditional, combustible cigarettes because they don't contain tobacco's cancer-causing ingredients.
Collectively, the five industry leaders command more than 97% of the US market for e-cigarettes, and Gottlieb took them to task for their response to concerns expressed earlier by the FDA about underage marketing and sales.
The agency said it plans to unveil a original e-cigarette public training campaign centered to formative years next week, and can simply soon direct wider access to original nicotine replacement therapies to support more grownup people who smoke quit cigarettes. They also prohibited certain retailers who had violations from selling tobacco products for specific periods of time. Some retailers were additionally cited for illegally selling products to minors.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network called Wednesday's actions a "necessary first step" but said officials could do much more.
Budding research on e-cigarettes also suggests that these flavors contain terpenes that may be more damaging to the lungs than other flavors are.
"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced a year ago".
"We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion", Gottlieb said.
"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products", Gottlieb said. Since 2017, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb has discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes, although that benefit hasn't been proven. "We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine".
"I've been warning the e-cigarette industry for more than a year that they needed to do much more to stem these youth trends", he said. Flavors include mint, mango and creeme.
Responding to Gottlieb's announcement, JUUL Labs Chief Executive Officer Kevin Burns said the company "will work proactively with FDA in response to its request".
According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids' president Matthew Myers, the FDA has made a crucial step toward curtailing youth use of e-cigarettes.
Makers argue that e-cigarettes can help adult smokers transition away from burnt tobacco products. Short of that, he suggests the FDA might force companies to stop offering e-liquid flavors that appeal to minors, which are an important factor in quit attempts by adult smokers.
The Vapor Technology Affiliation, which says it represents over 600 vaping producers and distributors, furthermore helps limiting teen access, but added that the original actions by the FDA ventured "into unhealthy territory" by no longer being in essentially the most easy ardour of public successfully being.
"It's a goal we share with public health, policy makers, parents, youth-serving organizations and many others who care about young people making healthy decisions", the company said, with a link to its initiatives.