The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday they will take steps to crack down on the sale of e-cigarette products to children and teenagers. It is sold in the form of a pen or a USB flash drive that's easy to use - and hide - because the vapor typically does not have a smell and quickly dissipates.
Gottlieb said the agency has been conducting since April 6 an undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
He said since March, FDA compliance checks uncovered 40 violations for illegal sales of JUUL-brand e-cigarettes to children. "The troubling reality is that electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes have become wildly popular with kids", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. "Let me be clear to retailers".
Cleveland19 reached out to Juul Labs.
A 2017 study by Yale University researchers found that teen smokers experimented with four styles of e-cigs: traditional e-cigs, such as Vuse by R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. and blu eCigs; a hookah pen with a liquid vapor tank; a modified vaporizer with a customizable battery and tank; and Juul.
A recent survey found 81 percent of minors who now vape do so because of the "availability of appealing flavors". He named several other brands of concern, including KandyPens and myblu.
The FDA said that such products are also more hard for parents and teachers to recognize or detect, potentially adding to its appeal for the youth.
"We already have in place programs to prevent and, if necessary, identify and act upon these violations at retail and online marketplaces, and we will announce additional measures in the coming days".
Additional enforcement actions are planned that will target companies that the FDA believes are marketing products in misleading ways to kids. The company says it will also support state and federal legislation to raise the minimum age for vaping products to 21.
In addition, JUUL Labs is investing $30-million on research, education, and community engagement efforts.
"We are working with the FDA, lawmakers, parents and community leaders to combat underage use, and we will continue working with all interested parties to keep our product away from youth". "If we wait four more years to act, we will have doomed countless more children to addiction and adverse health consequences at the hands of big tobacco companies".
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading a team to prevent teenagers from using e-cigarettes.
"The most unusual part of today's announcement is that the FDA has sent an official request for documents to San Francisco-based Juul Labs".
JUUL Labs is a consumer product company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes that enables them to permanently switch.
"We have heard of them here at the high school", said Brandon Bitting, principal at Carroll High School. "They're not doing cigarettes because that's not really hip", he said. But the agency chose to delay regulations until 2022 as part of a plan to overhaul tobacco regulations.
"As part of the FDA's responsibility to protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death, these are the first steps in a new effort aimed at stopping youth use of e-cigarettes", the FDA said in a statement.
This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health. Dick Durbin in response to the FDA's announcement.
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