Published: Sun, October 14, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

FDA Expands Investigation Of Illegal E-Cigarette Marketing To Kids

FDA Expands Investigation Of Illegal E-Cigarette Marketing To Kids

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration pressed forward with its investigation of e-cigarette companies Friday, sending letters to 21 companies in an effort to uncover whether they are marketing products illegally and outside the agency's compliance policy. E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among US youth.

The FDA called the mailing an extension of its Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan - an initiative to keep minors away from tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, and to prohibit their marketers from targeting youth. "This is the first time in 17 years that we've seen a rise in tobacco use in our youth due to the use of these.Casady is well aware that e-cigarettes are already in our area schools."With the FDA recently calling e-cig use among teens an epidemic, full attention is needed to address this issue", stated Casady over email". If products are being unlawfully marketed and outside the FDA's compliance policy, we'll act to remove them. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), along with its partners, seeks to raise awareness of the potential harm to those who use this product.

"Companies are on notice", FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement Friday. But at the same time, we believe e-cigarettes can be an important off-ramp for adults who are addicted to combustible cigarettes. But we can not allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine. These are the hard tradeoffs we now need to make. "Longer-term, it wires the brain for further addiction for substances such as opioids, heroin and cocaine", said Amanda Casady, Manager of Health Promotions for the American Lung Association in Minnesota.Casady explained that beyond concerning chemicals, there is a high amount of nicotine present."Some popular products, such as JUUL, contain as much nicotine in one 'pod, ' as an entire pack of cigarettes, and kids are going through at least one pod per day on average", said Casady.

In May of this year, PHMDC staff sent a survey to Dane County middle and high school principals, social workers, AODA coordinators, and nurses about e-cigarettes in their schools. "I'll do everything I can to curb the epidemic of youth use". The FDA's deeming rules allow flavor use in e-cigarette; however, Gottlieb signaled the agency would be taking a second look at flavors last month, as Convenience Store News previously reported. These measures, which will focus on protecting youth, could include an examination of flavors/designs that appeal to children, child-resistant packaging and product labeling to prevent accidental child exposure to liquid nicotine.

Since this extension, the FDA has received complaints that some companies may be marketing new products that do not meet the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act's (FD&C Act) premarket requirements and that were introduced or modified after the deeming rule's August 8, 2016, effective date. Such modifications could include the introduction of new product features, formulations or flavors.

As part of the FDA's comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation, the agency extended the deadline for companies to submit tobacco product review applications for deemed tobacco products that were on the market as of August 8, 2016. The agency said that Juul did not receive a request for information because the FDA recently conducted an unannounced inspection of the company's corporate headquarters to learn more about its marketing practices.

The FDA said it's considering civil and criminal avenues to enforce these regulations, including fines, seizures and injunctions, according to Friday's announcement.

"Past Public Health policies have led to a drop in traditional cigarette use among high schoolers, from 33 percent in 2000 to an all-time low of three percent today", said Nina Gregerson, Health Education Coordinator for Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC).

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