FDA Cracking Down On E-cigarette Companies Citing Skyrocketing Usage Among Teens

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By: Rudy Sanchez

The FDA isn’t kidding around when it comes to cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes. According to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, teen use of electronic cigarettes is an “epidemic,” and believes that flavored e-cigarettes “are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products.”

The FDA has sent letters targeting manufacturers and retailers of vaping products they believed were targeting minors in the past, after which they conducted an undercover, nationwide sting operation, targeting online and brick-and-mortar retailers selling to minors. The FDA found that a majority of violations were for sales of 5 brands of products: Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL, and Logic, which comprise over 97% of the electronic cigarette market.

The FDA has given these brands 60 days to submit a plan for how they’ll address the widespread use of their products by teens. The FDA isn’t mincing words on what they expect to see either.

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“Let me be clear," said the FDA Commissioner in a press release, "this may require these brands to revise their sales and marketing practices, including online sales; to stop distributing their products to retailers who sell to kids; and to remove some or all of their flavored e-cig products from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet applicable requirements.”

That also means having the industry finally move away from some of the kid-friendly packaging some brands are currently utilizing.

The FDA is showing no signs of backing down when it comes to its war on flavored e-cigarettes. And while adults enjoy fruity vapes, and it seems likely that these flavors help adults ween themselves off tobacco cigarettes, Commissioner Gottlieb has made it clear where the FDA stands, preventing and stopping teen use of e-cigs is a priority.

“This may create some obstacles for some adults who also enjoy e-cigs,” Gottlieb adds. “These are the hard trade-offs that we’re grappling with. But the youth risk is paramount.”

Over 2 million teens in the US admitted to vaping in 2017, which is cause for alarm, and while adult vapers may have legitimate reasons for wanting choice when it comes to flavored e-cigarettes, the FDA has drawn a line in the sand: teen use of e-cigs are the straw that breaks Joe Camel’s back.


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Rudy Sanchez

Rudy Sanchez is a product marketing consultant based in Southern California. Once described by a friend as her “technology life coach,” he is a techie and avid lifelong gamer. When he’s not writing or helping clients improve their products, he’s either watching comedies on Netflix, playing the latest shooter or battle royale game or out exploring the world via Ingress and Pokémon Go.