Following a surge in use among teenagers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) threatened to take e-cigarettes off the market shelves in the United States on Friday. According to NBC News, the recent threat has so far been the most direct one issued by FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
As the Inquisitr already reported, Gottlieb had issued a similar threat in November 2018 and said that the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes — which have been freely available in tens of thousands of gas stations and convenience stores across the country — will be banned. However, no concrete action had been taken so far despite pressure from groups such as the American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
But during Friday’s meeting, Gottlieb expressed that the recent surge in vape use among teenagers has left him “horrified.” The NBC News report quoted him to have said the following.
“I’ll tell you this. If the youth use continues to rise, and we see significant increases in use in 2019, on top of the dramatic rise in 2018, the entire category will face an existential threat. It will be game over for these products until they can successfully traverse the regulatory process.”
Not only did he issue a direct threat but also called out the most popular e-cigarette brand — Juul– and informed that FDA’s effort to pressure companies to “dial back on candy-flavored products ” has not been very fruitful so far.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 19, 2019
According to the 2018 figures released by the government, e-cigarette use among highschoolers had increased by 77 percent and close to 50 percent among middle schoolers. The November 2018 statistics revealed that at the beginning of 2018, 3.5 million children were found to be vaping across the United States.
Per a report by the Hill, Ted Kwong, a spokesperson for Juul, talked to the news outlet on Friday and reiterated that the company condemns the sale and use of its products among minors.
“Underage use of JUUL and any other vaping products is completely unacceptable to us and is directly opposed to our mission of eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.”
He added that the company is in the process of moving full steam ahead, with regards to the implementation of the company’s action plan to limit e-cigarette usage among youth, adding that the plan has remained unchanged since it was first announced in November 2018.
Kwong further said that Juul is committed to fight underage use through an engaged, committed and transparent partnership with not only the FDA but also local municipalities, state Attorneys General, and community organizations.