FDA Announces New Initiative Aimed at Stopping Youth Use of E-Cigarettes

These products are also more difficult for parents and teachers to recognize or detect
These products are also more difficult for parents and teachers to recognize or detect

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released details of a new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan which includes an undercover crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

In a wide ranging statement, the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, specifically targets novel nicotine-delivery products as being problematic since many of these devices resemble USB flash drives, have high nicotine levels and have emissions that are hard to see. “These characteristics may facilitate youth use, by making products more attractive to children and teens,” said Gottlieb.

JUUL, myblu and KandyPens are brand's directly named in the FDA statement. The Agency believes that in some cases, kids are trying the products and liking them without knowing their contents. As part of the undercover blitz to crack down on e-cigarette sales, the FDA has issued 40 warning letters to retailers regarding youth sales.

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eBay, the online retail store, removed JUUL products from its site following an FDA request. The Company also voluntarily implemented new measures to prevent new listings from being posted.

In order to get a better understanding of the youth appeal of JUUL, the Agency also sent an official request to JUUL Labs to obtain information related to product marketing; research on the health, toxicological, behavioral or physiologic effects of the products, including youth initiation and use; whether certain product design features, ingredients or specifications appeal to different age groups; and youth-related adverse events and consumer complaints associated with the products.

Similar requests will be sent to other manufacturers. In his statement, Gottlieb notes that companies that do not comply with FDA requests will be in violation of the law and subject to enforcement.

In addition to the above actions, the Agency says they are planning to pursue product standards and other regulations for electronic nicotine systems. "The youth-focused steps we're taking are consistent with our responsibility to protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death, and I intend to do everything within my power to fulfill that duty," said Gottlieb. 

For more information visit FDA.gov.