Youth tobacco prevention plan to prevent e-cig and vapor use by those under the legal age requirement.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a statement outlining a series of new enforcement actions and a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan in an effort to stop underage youth from having access to and using e-cigarettes and vapor products, the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) reported.
According to the announcement, electronic cigarettes “have become wildly popular with kids…and many of them may be using products that closely resemble a USB flash drive.”
In his statement, Commissioner Gottlieb outlined four enforcement actions that the FDA has already begun to undertake in response to the concerns about e-cigarette use among youth. Those four actions are as follows as outlined by NATO:
- Retail Compliance Blitz: On April 6, 2018, the FDA began conducting a “large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes-specifically JUUL-to minors at both brick-and-mortar and on-line retailers. This “blitz” involves FDA sponsored compliance checks utilizing underage minors to attempt to purchase e-cigarettes at retail stores and will continue through April 30. Since the beginning of March, the FDA has issued 40 warning letters to retailers for illegally selling JUUL products to youth. These violations have been issued to tobacco stores, convenience stores, and vape shops in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.
- eBay Listings for JUUL Products Removed: The FDA contacted eBay about several listings on its website for JUUL products. eBay has acted to remove the listings and voluntarily agreed to implement new measures to prevent postings for JUUL products in the future.
- Manufacturers Asked for Information: The FDA is taking additional steps and contacting certain e-cigarette manufacturers directly and requesting documentation about product marketing, research on the health-related effects of using e-cigarettes, product design features, and ingredients that may appeal to different age groups. The documents are being requested so that the FDA can try to determine why e-cigarettes are so popular with youth. In its announcement, the agency acknowledged that JUUL Labs has “expressed recognition” of e-cigarette use among youth and has reached out to the FDA to begin a dialogue on these concerns.
- Additional Enforcement Actions to Come: The FDA is planning “additional enforcement actions focused on companies that [the agency thinks] are marketing products in ways that are misleading to kids.” More information about these additional enforcement actions will be released by the FDA in the coming weeks.
These four actions are a part of the FDA’s new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan. Additional steps under this plan will be announced soon. The FDA wants manufacturers and retailers to know that it is taking the issue of underage youth and e-cigarette access and use very seriously.