FDA Commissioner Issues Statement on E-Cigs
Today, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. issued a statement announcing new proposed FDA initiatives to combat what the agency considers to be an epidemic of underage use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), more commonly referred to as "e-cigarettes." E-cigarettes deliver vaporized nicotine from a liquid solution that contains a variety of carcinogens and other harmful toxins.
In 2016, a report by the U.S. Surgeon General declared e-cigarette use by youth and young adults to be a "public health concern," reporting that e-cigarettes are "now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes" and "e-cigarette use is strongly associated with the use of other tobacco products ... including cigarettes and other burned tobacco products." And in 2017, the non-profit organization, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, issued a report, in conjunction with the American Association of Pediatrics and other health organizations, entitled "The Flavor Trap: How Tobacco Companies are Luring Kids with Candy-Flavored E-Cigarettes and Cigars." The report detailed how manufacturers are enticing kids to use e-cigarettes by selling fruit- and candy-flavored varieties, causing a rise in use in the younger population.
According to Commissioner Gottlieb, new data from the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey shows "astonishing increases in kids’ use of e-cigarettes and other ENDS, reversing years of favorable trends in our nation’s fight to prevent youth addiction to tobacco products." The survey, conducted by the Center for Tobacco Products, reflects that there was a large jump in the use of e-cigarettes among middle-school and high-school age children from 2017 to 2018: 48% and 78% increases, respectively. The commissioner's statement urges additional regulatory actions that would restrict the sale of flavored products, with the goal of reversing the trend of increased use of e-cigarettes in younger populations.