FDA says it may limit sale of flavored e-cigarette products to vaping stores to combat ‘epidemic’ use of products by teens

Types of electronic cigarettes

As teen use of Juul products continues to soar, the head of the Food and Drug Administration says all options are on the table, including limiting sales of flavored e-cigarette products to stores selling smoking-vapor products.

In a recent interview with CNBC, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that teens tend to purchase e-cigarettes at convenience stores and gas stations, and said restricting their sale to vaping stores is a good idea because they generally do a better job checking identification documents for their ages.

Gottlieb estimated that high-school students’ reported use of e-cigarettes surged 77 percent last year, and middle schoolers’ use grew 50 percent. He said the actual numbers are probably higher because kids don’t associate “Juuling” with e-cigarettes. He said next year’s National Youth Tobacco Survey will have specific questions about branded products.

“These really are reaching epidemic proportions in terms of the number of youth that are now using e-cigarettes,” Gottlieb said. “When all the data comes in, and we’re going to be publishing it next month, it’s going to look like around 20 percent of American kids are using e-cigarettes and probably almost a third are using some form of tobacco product. … There’s really no good news in this report.”

In September the FDA ordered the five major manufacturers of e-cigarettes sold in the United States — JuulBritish American TobaccoAltriaImperial Brands and Japan Tobacco — to submit plans to address teen use of their products within 60 days. “Everyone involved in this market has a shared responsibility to address this public health crisis,” Gottlieb ssaid Oct. 31.

The FDA is also considering banning online sales of e-cigarettes, at least temporarily, while it writes regulations for these products, Gottlieb told CNBC.

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