FDA to crack down on menthol cigarettes, flavored vapes

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We're seeing a generation of kids become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. To date, 3.6 million students are now vaping.

"These data shock my conscience", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, referring to the latest data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey. He said menthol e-cigarettes may be an option for adults who turn to vaping products to quit regular cigarettes and he decided not to push for an end to menthol flavoring in vaping products.

U.S. regulators Thursday ordered sharp restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes, as national data showed a 78 percent single-year surge in vaping among young people, with two-thirds using fruit and candy-flavored products.

More than 3 million high school students, or more than 20 percent of all USA high school students, used the products, along with 570,000 middle school students, according to the survey.

What we said all along is that we felt that the e-cigarettes offer an opportunity for adults, but we need to take measures to try to restrict access to the kids. He also proposed beefing up measures to ensure that convenience stores and some other retailers do not sell e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors such as cherry and vanilla.

The reason mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are not included is they are more popular with adults who may be using them to decrease or stop their use of traditional cigarettes.

E-cigarettes were created to give adult smokers a healthier alternative to cigarettes, but the products have become popular among kids and teenagers.

Health experts applauded the FDA move.

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The primary concern most experts have about youth e-cigarette use is that most of these products contain nicotine, which is addictive, says Jonathan Klein, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of IL at Chicago.

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid containing nicotine, the addictive stimulant that gives smokers a rush.

Juul, Logic, a unit of Japan Tobacco Inc, Altria, which makes e-cigarettes under the MarkTen brand, British American Tobacco Plc (BAT) and Imperial Brands Plc, the maker of blu e-cigarettes, all said they supported efforts to reduce youth access.

Getting out ahead of today's FDA announcement, Juul on Tuesday stopped filling store orders for mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods and will resume sales only to retailers that scan IDs and take other steps to verify a buyer is at least 21.

The FDA is also attempting to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, though those proposals could take two years to pass regulatory hurdles.

Although the agency said it isn't proposing revisions to regulations for mint and menthol flavors in e-cigarettes at this time, it has to address the impact that menthol has on the public health.

Altria will maintain the sale of its other e-cigarettes - which resemble conventional cigarettes and which come in traditional flavors like tobacco and menthol.

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