FDA cracks down on sales of Juul, other e-cigarettes to youth


"The FDA has been conducting a large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes - specifically Juul products - to minors at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers", FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

"The FDA said it warned 40 stores about selling the product to children under 18 and said it had persuaded eBay to control listings".

The FDA is requesting from Juul Labs: documents related to product marketing; research on the health, toxicological, behavioral or physiologic effects of the products, including youth initiation and use; whether certain product design features, ingredients or specifications appeal to different age groups; and youth-related adverse events and consumer complaints associated with the products.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporise a fluid typically including nicotine and a flavour component. Thanks in part to its resemblance to a small computer flash drive, Juul has become popular with some teenagers as a discreet way to vape at school and in public. "The presence of life-saving products like Juul and other e-cigarettes are a boon to public health".

Back in February 8News investigated and spoke to students about the rampant use of Juul in area high schools. "Juul flavors include "Creme Brulee" and 'Fruit Medley, ' which critics have said make it more attractive to minors", write Saabira Chaudhuri and Anne Marie Chaker for the Wall Street Journal.

"However, it is hard to blame Juul when they are facing off with well-funded opponents who ultimately want to see all products, like Juul, removed from the US market".

JUUL Labs CEO Kevin Burns said he hopes his company can help over 1 billion smokers across the globe switch to a healthier alternative.

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Tuesday's FDA announcement states these new efforts are part of the agency's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan that aims to prevent young people from using tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

JUUL Labs plans to take several steps, including supporting efforts to raise the minimum age of purchasing JUUL and other vaping products to 21 and providing educational materials to increase parental awareness of its products, according to a company news release.

Products developed by Juul Labs Inc have come under intense scrutiny, as they are often sold to minors. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Truth Initiative, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association and American Lung Association, sent a letter to Gottlieb warning that progress against smoking is "at serious risk of being reversed" because of the agency's failure to take action against products that appeal to youth.

Additional enforcement actions are planned that will target companies that the FDA believes are marketing products in misleading ways to kids.

After ramping up production in 2017, Juul overtook Vuse in November and has since sped away to a 54.6 percent market share in March, according to Nielsen data.

"It is no secret that big tobacco companies will stop at nothing to hook young people on their addictive and unsafe products", Durbin and the senators wrote to FDA's Commissioner. We've made great strides in reducing youth tobacco use - but these gains are in jeopardy because of the rise of e-cigarettes and other non-cigarette tobacco products, which are blatantly being marketed to young people.

For all their "valuing of individualism", as a recent book by psychologist Jean Twenge would have it, I suspect that's still true for iGens.