Society 14:30 14/09/2018 Armenia

FDA chief calls youth e-cigarettes an ‘epidemic’

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has dramatically escalated his efforts to stop an “epidemic” of teenage vaping, announcing Wednesday a massive enforcement action against retailers for allegedly selling e-cigarettes to minors and warning manufacturers of a potential ban of flavored e-cigarette liquids.

Officials said the move against more than 1,300 retailers was the largest coordinated enforcement action in the agency’s history. The threatened ban, if carried out, would significantly upend the fast-growing industry, the Washington Post reports.

The latest data, not yet published, show a 75 percent increase in e-cig use among high school students this year compared to 2017. The FDA declined to publicly release the numbers, but people familiar with them said they were preliminary data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, on which the agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborate.

In a speech to FDA employees, Gottlieb said that rapid spike in teen use, emerging sales trends, and concerns among parents and teachers convinced him that underage use of e-cigarettes has become a full-blown crisis that must be forcefully addressed.

“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end,” Gottlieb said.

In its enforcement action, the FDA recently sent almost 1,200 letters to brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers warning them that they could face penalties for allegedly selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. The agency also imposed fines — ranging from $279 to $11,182 — on another 130 establishments for repeated offenses.

Even more significant, notices sent Wednesday morning demand that five leading e-cigarette manufacturers — including Henrico County-based Altria Group — submit plans within 60 days detailing ways to sharply curb sales to underage consumers.



Source Panorama.am
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