Supermarkets cited in crackdown on e-cigarettes

Vaping residue can transfer between rooms new study finds

Most of the violations found in the undercover blitz, conducted from June through August, were for the illicit sale of Vuse, Blu, JUUL, MarkTen XL and Logic e-cigarette products, according to the FDA. Flavored e-cigarettes are said to be a tool that helps adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, the main example of a plus the product can claim.

"We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people", the company said in a statement.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, said the agency is acting strongly to address the problem of e-cig use among underaged users by sending warning letters to five manufacturers as well as warnings and fines to 1,300 retailers.

"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.

Gottlieb cited preliminary data that has not yet been published, but which he said shows "youth use of e-cigs is rising very sharply". Gottlieb is talking about reneging on the FDA's four-year extension of the deadline for seeking regulatory approval to continue selling e-cigarettes, which would wreak havoc with a market that he concedes has great potential for reducing smoking-related disease and death.

"The legal standard for FDA premarket review of a new tobacco product includes consideration of whether the product would be appropriate for the protection of the public health".

As of September 1, the FDA said it has conducted 978,290 retail inspections, issued 77,180 warning letters to retailers for violating the law, and initiated 18,560 civil money penalty cases in its checks of retail establishments selling tobacco products.

"Our mission is to improve the lives of adult smokers by providing them with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes". That could lead to removal of some major flavored e-cigarette brands, including the popular products made by Juul Labs Inc., if they do not address the issue to the agency's satisfaction.

He said "everything is on the table", including criminal charges.

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

"The FDA should immediately move to regulate flavored e-cigarettes, instead of waiting until 2022, as it is now planning to do", Bloomberg said in a statement.

The steps announced Wednesday are just the initial elements of these new efforts, Gottlieb said. They also show that the nicotine in e-cigarettes is addictive, and that the other chemicals added as part of the flavoring might be harmful. "Hindsight, and the data that's now available to us, fully reveal these trends".

Gottlieb echoed those concerns, saying he's anxious about the effects of nicotine in e-cigarettes on the developing brain, and that a proportion of teenagers who use the devices will end up on regular cigarettes.

Much of the FDA's sharp change in course is a result of the phenomenal success of Juul, which looks like a USB flash drive.

The agency said it plans to unveil a new e-cigarette public education campaign targeted to youth next week, and will soon announce wider access to new nicotine replacement therapies to help more adult smokers quit cigarettes.

In addition, the FDA on Wednesday issued 12 warning letters to online retailers for selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies.

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