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Due To The E-Cigarette ‘Epidemic’ US Restricts Its Flavours

E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community.

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e-cigarette, cigarettes
Customers puff on e-cigarettes at the Henley Vaporium in New York City. VOA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration next week will issue a ban on the sale of fruit and candy flavored electronic cigarettes or e-cigarette in convenience stores and gas stations, an agency official said, in a move to counter a surge in teenage use of e-cigarettes.

The ban means only tobacco, mint and menthol flavors can be sold at these outlets, the agency official said, potentially dealing a major blow to Juul Labs Inc, the San Francisco-based market leader in vape devices.

The FDA also will introduce stricter age-verification requirements for online sales of e-cigarettes. The FDA’s planned restrictions, first reported by The Washington Post and confirmed to Reuters by the official, do not apply to vape shops or other specialty retail stores.

There has been mounting pressure for action after preliminary federal data showed teenage use had surged by more than 75 percent since last year, and the FDA has described it as an “epidemic.”

e-cigarette
In this April 11, 2018, photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school’s campus in Cambridge, Mass. Health and education officials across the country are raising alarms over wide underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that’s sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. VOA

Crackdown

“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teens,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in September. “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable.”

That growth has coincided with the rise of Juul, whose sales of vaping devices grew from 2.2 million in 2016 to 16.2 million devices last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency threatened in September to ban Juul and four other leading e-cigarette products unless their makers took steps to prevent use by minors. The FDA gave Juul and four big tobacco companies 60 days to submit plans to curb underage use, a compliance period that is now ending.

e-cigarette
Packages of flavored liquids for e-cigarettes are seen displayed at a smoke shop in New York City. VOA

The planned restrictions on flavors in convenience stores are likely to have the biggest impact on Juul, which sells nicotine liquid pods in flavors such as mango, mint, fruit and creme, previously called creme brulee.

Juul competitors

The only other e-cigarette competitors sold at convenience stores are those marketed primarily by tobacco companies such as Altria Group Inc, British American Tobacco Plc, Imperial Brands Plc and Japan Tobacco Inc.

Those products, sold under the MarkTen, blu, Vuse and Logic brands, have lost market share as Juul has risen to prominence over the last year, growing from 13.6 percent of the U.S. e-cigarette market in early 2017 to nearly 75 percent now, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen retail data.

E-cigarette products represent a small share of revenue for major tobacco companies, whereas Juul’s business is built entirely on the vaping devices. Revenue from e-cigarette devices made up less than 1 percent of British American Tobacco’s global revenue for the first six months of 2018, according to a company filing from July.

e-cigarette
E-cigarette additives impair lung function: Study. ( Image Source: https://ecigarettereviewed.com/)

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. The company also said it would restrict flavors for its other e-cigarette products to tobacco, menthol and mint.

Representatives from Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening. A Juul spokeswoman declined to comment.

The companies have previously said their products are intended for adult use and that they work to ensure retailers comply with the law.

Divisive products

Juul has previously said the company wants to be “part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people” but that “appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch.”

e-cigarette
Ban on e-cigarettes, Pixabay

Meredith Berkman, a founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes, which seeks to curb underage use, said the agency’s move was a “good first step,” but added that “the final step should have happened yesterday.”

“Why not do away with flavors altogether, why not do away with online sales altogether?” she said.

Also Read: Smoking Habits May Harm Breastfeeding, Newborns At Risk

E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community. Some focus on the potential for the products to shift lifelong smokers onto less harmful nicotine products, while others fear they risk drawing a new generation into nicotine addiction.

Last year the FDA, under Gottlieb, extended until 2022 a deadline for e-cigarette companies to comply with new federal rules on marketing and public health. (VOA)

Next Story

FDA Proposes to Curb Sales of Flavoured E-cigarettes to Teenagers

The health regulator also proposed pre-market applications for all flavoured e-cigarette products that continue to be sold by August 8, 2021

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e-cigarette, vaping
In this April 11, 2018, photo, an unidentified 15-year-old high school student uses a vaping device near the school's campus in Cambridge, Mass. Health and education officials across the country are raising alarms over wide underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. The devices heat liquid into an inhalable vapor that's sold in sugary flavors like mango and mint — and often with the addictive drug nicotine. VOA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to curb sales of flavoured e-cigarettes to teenagers.

The health regulator on Wednesday said that it is proposing to end all flavoured electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products such as electronic cigarettes, except tobacco, mint and menthol-flavoured products.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 3.6 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes last year.

“Evidence shows that youth are especially attracted to flavoured e-cigarette products, and that minors are able to access these products from both brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as online, despite federal restrictions on sales to anyone under 18,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, said in a statement.

“With these concerns in mind, today, we’re advancing our policies aimed at preventing youth access to, and appeal of, flavoured e-cigarettes and cigars.”

E-cigarettes, Smokers
Talia Eisenberg, co-founder of the Henley Vaporium, uses her vaping device in New York, Feb. 20, 2014. VOA

The new proposed policy also subjects all manufacturers and retailers to FDA enforcement for selling certain flavoured ENDS products without authorisation.

The FDA had previously threatened to ban most flavoured e-cigarettes in 2017 but did not take any enforcement moves.

However, with the new policy, FDA intends to prioritise its enforcement to focus on protecting youth from becoming addicted to nicotine.

Also Read- Eating Mushrooms May Prevent Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

It believes, at the same time, “that ENDS products still hold promise to help transition currently addicted adult smokers to potentially less harmful sources of nicotine”, Gottlieb said.

The health regulator also proposed pre-market applications for all flavoured e-cigarette products that continue to be sold by August 8, 2021. (IANS)