Trump admin puts flavored e-cigarettes in the crosshairs

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Trump admin puts flavored e-cigarettes in the crosshairs

09/12/2019
The Trump administration is taking aim at flavored e-cigarettes in what it said was an effort to curb youth e-cig use. The Food and Drug Administration is planning to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks to prioritize enforcement of premarket authorization requirements for e-cigarettes that aren’t tobacco flavored, including mint and menthol, with promises of a more specific plan to come.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” said Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

The announcement followed preliminary numbers from the Youth Tobacco Survey showing a continued rise in e-cigarette use among youth, the administration said. The preliminary data shows that more than 25% of youth surveyed said they were current e-cig users, meaning they had used one in the previous 30 days, with a majority saying they used flavored e-cigarettes.

“We appreciate President Trump and Secretary Azar’s continued support of the agency’s efforts to prevent youth use of e-cigarettes, including the bold approach we’re announcing today. Once finalized, this compliance policy will serve as a powerful tool that the FDA can use to combat the troubling trend of youth e-cigarette use,” said Ned Sharpless, acting FDA commissioner. “We must act swiftly against flavored e-cigarette products that are especially attractive to children. Moreover, if we see a migration to tobacco-flavored products by kids, we will take additional steps to address youth use of these products.”

Currently, under a rule enacted in August 2016, makers of electronic nicotine delivery products were expected to file premarket tobacco product applications within two years. The coming policy will outline the FDA’s enforcement policy regarding non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products without premarket authorization in the future.

This is just the latest in the FDA’s recent efforts to fight youth adoption of e-cigarettes. I has sent more than 8,600 warning letters to retailers and sent letters to manufacturers that results in their products — which resembled kid-friendly juice boxes, cereal and candy — from stores. It also has cited firms that make and sell flavored e-liquids for violations related to online posts about their products by social media influencers made on their behalf.

On Monday, the agency issued a warning letter to Juul Labs for marketing unauthorized modified-risk tobacco products by engaging in consumer-directed activities, including a presentation to youth at a school. It also issued a second letter expressing concern about the company’s outreach and marketing practices.

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