Too many teens are using Juuls, according to the FDA

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

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

US health officials say teenage use of e-cigarette has reached "epidemic" levels and are calling on the industry to address the problem or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.

In light of the Food and Drug Administration's actions following a crackdown on electronic cigarettes and youth access, industry manufacturers stand by their commitment to keeping c-cigarettes and vapor products out of the hands of minors.

It marks a shift in the agency's tone on e-cigarettes. "We're seriously considering a policy change that would lead to the immediate removal of these flavored products from the market", Gottlieb said in a speech at FDA headquarters.

While the FDA's threatened ban of flavored products won't shut down vape stores, it would leave them with only tobacco and menthol-flavored alternatives which they say would defeat the original objective of their flavored products-to help people stop smoking cigarettes.

Collectively, the five industry leaders command more than 97% of the USA 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.

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

While e-cigarettes are thought to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, it's still unclear of the impact of long-term use.

They typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate.

In Boston Public Schools, high school administrators have reported more instances of students in possession of vaping devices at school. "Don't get hacked", one PSA said. "Hindsight, and the data that's now available to us, fully reveal these trends".

She says people will always find a way around the regulations but she believes that more education of students, teachers and parents can reduce teen vaping. Some experts were cautious about the results, however. A recent study estimates U.S. e-cigarette users at 10.8 million, with more than half under the age of 35.

According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years. They comprise more than 97 percent of the US market for e-cigarettes.

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products has always been marked by twists and turns and years of debate.

Last summer, the FDA delayed the application deadline, in an attempt to provide more clarity to manufacturers trying to navigate the process.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is strongly considering banning all flavored e-cigarettes.

FDA also added saying that if the agencies don't think their plans go far enough, it could order their flavored products off the market as these five brands make up more than 97 percent of the USA market for e-cigarettes. The FDA declined to publicly release the numbers, but people familiar with them said they were preliminary data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, on which the agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborate. "Clearly the FDA knows who the industry culprits are in this epidemic and as such should exercise its full regulatory authority over these products rather than allow the industry to voluntarily self-correct". But it's not clear how quickly the decision could be reversed.

In a statement, Matthew Myers, the campaign's president, said the FDA's action would only represent a turning point if it "reverses its policy and requires that all of these products undergo agency review now, not four years from now". We have learned the hard way from many years of experience that the tobacco companies should not be the ones to decide solutions.

Altria Group and British American Tobacco have gained the most intraday since 2008, rising as much as 7.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively.

San Francisco-based Juul said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit.

The agency's latest action follows a sting operation in the spring that targeted businesses selling JUUL brand e-cigarette products to minors, which resulted in more than 60 warning letters and fines.

Gottlieb said he plans in the coming weeks to debut additional enforcement actions targeting companies that may be marketing products to children in ways that are misleading. The New York Times noted in 2014 RJ Reynolds and Altria put enormous warnings on their e-cigarette and vaping products not seen on tobacco products.

The steps announced Wednesday are just the initial elements of these new efforts, Gottlieb said.

In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, created to address some of the known public health risks, such as flavors, that contribute to adolescent use of e-cigarettes. The AP is exclusively responsible for all content.

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