Wednesday, April 25, 2018

FDA cracks down on sales of e-cigarettes to youths

"The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced a nationwide undercover 'blitz' to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes — particularly the hugely popular Juul products — to children and teenagers by regular and online retailers," Laurie McGinley reports for The Washington Post.

The month-long push, which will continue to the end of April, has found dozens of violations of the laws, and 40 warning letters have been issued related to Juul sales. Juul (branded JUUL) is a highly popular vaping device that packs a powerful nicotine punch, with dozens of flavors like mango and creme brulee that attract teenagers. Because the device is small and looks like a USB drive, teens find it easy to hide them from parents and teachers. Other vaping devices like myblu and KandyPens are similar.

Because teen smoking rates have dropped dramatically in the past 20 years, vaping makes up the lion's share of adolescent nicotine use. And although many consider vaping safer than smoking traditional cigarettes, the vapor contains other dangerous chemicals. Adults have become alarmed at the meteoric rise in popularity of Juul and other e-cigarettes.

"The announcement about the crackdown came a week after health organizations and lawmakers urged the FDA to be more aggressive in discouraging e-cigarette use among 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 [FDA Commissioner Scott] 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," McGinley reports.

Juul Labs said in a statement that selling its products to minors was "unacceptable" and it already has programs in place to prevent and act on violators, but promised to announce extra measures soon.

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