E-cig conference in Louisville Dec. 10; FDA says crackdown on teen sales may impede usage by adults who want to quit smoking

Amid growing concerns that electronic cigarettes will undermine the progress made in reducing tobacco-related disease in Kentucky, the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow will host a half-day conference Dec. 10 in Louisville to explore the latest evidence about the health effects of e-cigarettes.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Kentucky Youth Advocates will also release a new focus group report that day about Kentucky youth attitudes and perceptions about e-cigs.

“E-cigarette use among youth is at now at epidemic levels, escalating dramatically since the introduction of flavored pod e-cigarettes such as Juul and copycat products,” Ben Chandler, chair of the coalition and CEO of the foundation, said in a news release. “Kentucky lawmakers and health advocates need to know what the research says about these products, and how they’re impacting future tobacco use and health. We’ll also examine the policies that should be enacted to turn back this alarming new trajectory.”

Speakers at the conference, titled “Next Generation Tobacco: The Impact of E-Cigarettes on Kentucky’s Future Health,” will discuss who’s using e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems in Kentucky, and potential policies for preventing associated disease and illness.

Speakers will focus on the role of flavors in encouraging underage vaping; the extent to which e-cigarettes and other vaping devices actually help people quit smoking; what’s in vaping products; whether they are a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes; and the evidence that e-cigs are a gateway to smoking for youth and young adults.

The conference will be held Monday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the foundation office, 1640 Lyndon Farm Court, in Louisville. Remote viewing sites will be announced later this month. The conference is free, but registration is required. Click here to register and to see the full agenda.

The announcement of the conference is timely.

On Oct. 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to 21 e-cigarette companies seeking information about whether more than 40 products, including some flavored e-cig products, are being illegally marketed or are outside the agency’s compliance policies, according to an agency news release.

This is the FDA’s latest effort to stop the illegal sale of e-cigs to youth and decrease the “kid-friendly marketing and appeal of these products,” it notes. In recent months, the agency has sent more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers for illegally selling e-cigs to minors; given major e-cig makers 60 days to submit plans to address youth access and use; adjusted compliance policies; and launched a new anti-vaping advertising campaign aimed at teens called “The Real Cost.”

“The FDA remains committed to the potential opportunity for e-cigarettes to help adult smokers transition away from combustible cigarettes. But we cannot allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, said in the release.

He added, “We’ll take forceful steps to stem the youth use, even if our actions have the unwelcome effect of impeding some opportunities for adults. These are the hard tradeoffs we now need to make.”

Previous Article
Next Article