Federal data show that the number of high school students using vape in the United States surged 77% in 2018, prompting the FDA to take action.
In September, the FDA asked five manufacturers — JUUL, Vuse of British American Tobacco, Mark Ten of Altria, Blu vapes of Imperial Brand and Logic of Japanese Tobacco — to submit plans to reduce teenagers’use of their products within 60 days. According to FDA, the 5 companies account for more than 90% of the electronic cigarette market in the United States.
Since then, FDA Director Scott Gottlieb has said that he has met with the executives of each of these companies and made “considerate” recommendations on what companies and institutions can do to curb teenagers’use.
In a statement, Gottlieb said: “These companies will attract children’ use of vape, but it will also really help adult smokers quit smoking.”
Gottlieb calls e-cigarettes a public health crisis, and the agency may limit the sale of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes to places with stricter age checks and consider limiting sales to e-cigarette stores.
British American Tobacco Reynolds Inc. said it planned to impose penalties on retailers selling to minor children and strengthen their online sales to curb teenagers’use and so on.
Altria said it would withdraw its MarkTen-based products and stop selling all flavored cigarettes except mint or tobacco before FDA review and approval. Steve Callahan, a spokesman for the company, said: “We share FDA’s concerns about teenagers using electronic cigarettes and hope to work together to solve the problem.” The company has previously expressed support for raising the age of tobacco products from 18 to 21. JUUL also supports this idea and requires its online shoppers to reach the age of 21.
Victoria Davis, a spokesman for JUUL, said that according to the FDA’s feedback, executives were finalizing their proposals. “Our plan will outline further actions we will take to keep JUUL away from teenagers.” she said.
Japanese tobacco company
Michele Maron, a spokesman for Japan Tobacco Company, said the company supported the FDA’s approach, “We’re making efforts to remove products that did not meet the needs of operate, market or sell commercially in accordance with regulations.”
Gottlieb said it welcomed the voluntary measures taken by the company to solve the problem of using electronic cigarettes among young people.