Just weeks after The Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, stated that the use of e-cigarettes by youths was at an “epidemic” level, promising for a historic crackdown. His latest statement is stronger yet, saying the FDA is considering the ban on all online sales of e-cigarettes.
At the Axios News Shapers event in Washington DC, Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen hosted a debate centered on the rise in e-cigarette use and invited Dr. Scott Gottlieb to the stage.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb started by saying that the FDA said: “all along that e-cigarettes could be a viable alternative for adult smokers and help more people get off combustible tobacco”. Further stating the issue (to health) is with the combustion of cigarettes not with nicotine. If more adult smokers moved off these compostable products onto e-cigarettes which we know pose less risk, then that would be a health net benefit.
The problem, he continues to state, is the rise in youth use. The FDA believes to close the attraction to kids will also result in reducing the attraction to adults.
The FDA has been busy with campaigns targeting the use of e-cigs with kids, just recently releasing a nationwide Youth E-Cigarette Prevention Campaign. This is where the FDA released poster images and messages in high school bathrooms, warning youths on the use of e-cigarettes. The FDA stated that more than 2-million high school students used these products in 2017.
The FDA also sent out letters to a number of e-cigarette companies, including Vuse, Blu, Juul Labs, MarkTen XL and Logic which together covers 97% of the US Market. They asked them to prove how they can avoid the sales of their products to youths, giving them just 60 days to respond. This is a result of the FDA considering the banning of flavored e-liquids.
The FDA is not stopping there, announcing they plan to release additional requirements in November for e-cigarette manufacturers to follow.
Where does all this campaigning come from? Well, the FDA state that The National Youth Tobacco Survey shows a massive spike in use from youths. All the data shows worrying trends, with more kids using e-cigarettes for longer durations.
The FDA is now considering the change in their regulations to the way e-cigarettes are being sold online. They state that the problem is 2-fold:
The FDA believes that online shops are giving too easy access of e-cigs to kids and therefore under section 906(D)4 of the General Provisions Respecting Control Of Tobacco act which is the regulation that governs the remote sales. The FDA can introduce regulations to affect the way these products are marketed. Including and I quote “regulate the online sales [of e-cigarettes] and potentially close them down”!
It’s too early to fully understand the impact of this statement; it could mean that the FDA will include additional requirements for all online shops to follow as early as November. Which could be the removal of all flavored e-liquids online, not banning them completely; just following the same regulation as traditional cigarettes i.e. you will still be able to buy them from traditional bricks and mortar shops with ID.
It could also mean that the FDA will introduce much leaner requirements for online shops to identify the age of their customers, and if they fail to stop the sale to underage children, then it could result in the closure order of that shop.