FDA plans to crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes

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The Food and Drug Administration is planning to crack down on sales of flavored e-cigarette products, claiming they are highly addictive and have become hugely popular with minors.

The FDA will also introduce stricter age-verification requirements for online sales of e-cigarettes.

Preliminary government data shows e-cigarette sales have risen 77 percent among high schoolers and 50 percent among middle schoolers in 2018, which means that 3.5 million minors have been vaping throughout 2018. But he has also said his first priority is protecting kids from tobacco-related disease.

Most flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations could be banned.

Use of the devices has skyrocketed especially with young people, according to the FDA.

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Although vaping is generally considered a less risky alternative to smoking traditional tobacco products, health officials have warned nicotine in e-cigarettes is harmful to developing brains.

Altria last month announced it would stop selling its pod-based electronic cigarettes, generally smaller devices that use pre-filled nicotine liquid cartridges, in response to the FDA's concerns about teen usage. Moreover, the long-term health consequences of vaping is not known.

In September, Gottlieb gave five e-cigarette manufacturers - Juul, British American Tobacco's Vuse, Altria's MarkTen, Imperial Brands' Blu E-cigs and Japan Tobacco's Logic - until this Sunday to submit proposals on how to combat youth e-cigarette use.

"We have to be really careful not to overreact to the youth problem", said David Abrams, professor of social and behavioral sciences at New York University.

Gottlieb's steps will nearly certainly be denounced as too aggressive by the industry and too weak by public health groups and Democratic lawmakers, whose election victory will likely embolden them in efforts to curb youths' use of e-cigarettes.

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