E-cigarette use is an 'epidemic', FDA chief says

E-cigarette use is an 'epidemic', FDA chief says

E-cigarette use is an 'epidemic', FDA chief says

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now considers the increasingly prolific use of e-cigarettes amongst younger people as an "epidemic".

Altria Group and British American Tobacco gained the most intraday since 2008, rising as much as 7.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. "These five brands now comprise over 97 percent of the USA market for e-cigarettes", the FDA said. Juul, a private company, represents 72 percent of sales, according to Nielsen data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie.

The company has stressed that the device was created for adults who want to transition from regular cigarettes.

Juul Labs said it would work with the FDA on its request and is committed to preventing underage use of its product.

None of the other four companies contacted by the FDA immediately responded to TIME's requests for comment.

It recognized the impact this might have on the use of these products by adults trying to stop smoking, but said that emerging research shows that action must be taken.

On the other side of the public health ledger, there is little reason to think that restricting information about ENDS, making them less cool, or banning e-liquid flavors would reduce morbidity and mortality among today's adolescents, either now or in the future.

The FDA says it has issued "more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers" as a result of "a large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors". As a result, they've asked the manufacturers of vaping products to act - otherwise, their products might be prohibited from sale. Several of the retailers also were cited for illegally selling the products to minors. The agency issued 12 warning letters to companies that it says have deceptive marketing labels on e-liquids.

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"I certainly am in possession of evidence that warrants that", Gottlieb said, without disclosing the evidence.

'We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, ' he said in today's announcement.

But the FDA said it is also investigating whether e-cigarette manufacturers have introduced new products after August 8, 2016, without premarket authorization.

Also, the agency is probing manufacturer's online shops for "straw" purchases in which buyers resell products to minors.

"I think it became clear to FDA that if they didn't get their arms around this issue the use of these products by kids across the nation would undo decades of progress", said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

"The FDA will not tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a trade-off for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products", he said. The FDA declined to release the figures publicly.

Other studies have indicated that while e-cigarettes may have milder effects on the lungs, they are just as bad - if not worse - for the cardiovascular system, raising risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Ingredients also include glycerol, propylene glycol, natural oils, extracts and flavor and benzoic acid.

The latest data, not yet published, show a 75 percent increase in e-cigarette use among high school students this year compared to 2017. "Juul is a product for adult smokers". But it added that "appropriate flavors play an important role in helping adult smokers switch", spokeswoman Victoria Davis said. "By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors, and we will continue to engage with the FDA to fulfill our mission". But "the youth risk is paramount", he said.

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