The Food and Drug Administration is taking bold steps against the manufacturers and retailers of e-cigarettes, claiming that the their use has reached an “epidemic proportion.” The agency is giving e-cigarette companies 60 days to come up with a plan for reducing use of their products among minors.
In a release, the FDA said it’s taking “historic action” against companies that it believes promotes use and addiction of their products to young vapers.
“Unfortunately, I now have good reason to believe that it’s reached nothing short of an epidemic proportion of growth,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a briefing. “I use the word epidemic with great care. E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous—and dangerous—trend among teens… The FDA won’t tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products.”
The FDA sent letters to 1,300 retailers selling e-cigarettes made by Juul, Vuse, Blu, MarkTen XL, and Logic Labs, which together make up 97% of the market. It reserved its strongest action for the manufacturers themselves.
“The agency is asking each company to submit to FDA within 60 days plans describing how they will address the widespread youth access and use of their products,” the FDA said in a release. “If they fail to do so, or if the plans do not appropriately address this issue, the FDA will consider whether it would be appropriate to revisit the current policy that results in these products remaining on the market.”
According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years. More than 2 million middle-school and high-school students used e-cigarettes in 2017.