Health

U.S. government considers ban on flavored e-cigarettes over youth 'epidemic'

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Youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached

WASH/LA-The Food and Drug Administration said on September 12-they are considering a ban on flavored e-cigarettes in response to an "epidemic" of young people using e-cigarettes, the agency's leader said. "It's an unfortunate tradeoff".

To gain clearance to return to the market, the companies would have to prove that the benefits to adults who use e-cigarettes to stop smoking outweigh the risks associated with youth vaping.

These levels of nicotine are highly addictive, particularly to the developing brains of children and teenagers.

The FDA said Wednesday that it has issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers that illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors during a national sting operation at brick-and-mortar and online stores this summer.

"I use the word epidemic with great care", said FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.

The Vapor Technology Association, which says it represents over 600 vaping manufacturers and distributors, also supports limiting teen access, but added that the new actions by the FDA ventured "into unsafe territory" by not being in the best interest of public health. More generally, the FDA wants Juul and the other companies to contemplate "the particular youth appeal of their products", which involves features, such as style and convenience, that adults also happen to like.

The company, which sells pods with flavours such as mango, mint and creme, also defended such products, which it said help adult customers trying to quit traditional smoking.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes, citing an "epidemic" of use among teens. In a statement, they called for support for their bipartisan legislation, introduced in July, which would ban flavored cigars and place stringent controls on e-juice flavorings. But that number includes respondents who reported vaping at all during the previous month, even just once. They're generally considered a less risky alternative to regular cigarettes.

But the other action we would take immediately is look at removing these flavored products in the market.

To the extent that teenagers who otherwise would be smoking are vaping instead, that is an unambiguous gain in public health terms, since the latter habit is much less unsafe. "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", Juul spokesperson Victoria Davis said in a statement provided to TIME. In some states, one must be 21 to buy them. A government-commissioned report in January found "substantial evidence" that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes. The agency also has issued more than 135 No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, which can result in retailers being prohibited from selling tobacco products for specified time periods.

Gottlieb is remarkably cavalier about throwing adult smokers under the bus in the name of preventing adolescents from experimenting with e-cigarettes.

"While we remain committed to advancing policies that promote the potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, that work can't come at the expense of kids", Gottlieb said.

"This public campaign will bring these public health messages to online sites that we know teenagers access, and even to high school bathrooms", Gottlieb said.

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