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FDA chief to meet with heads of vaping companies

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FDA chief to meet with heads of vaping companies – as he hints some are backing out of their pledge to stop targeting teens

  • Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Thursday that he will meet with e-cig CEOs
  • He said ‘some already appear to back away from commitments made to the FDA and the public’

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to meet top-level executives of e-cigarette makers, the agency’s chief said on Thursday. 

Director Scott Gottlieb hinted that some companies seem to be backing away from commitments related to youth’s access to e-cigarettes.

‘There’s no reason manufacturers must wait for FDA to forcefully address the epidemic,’ he said on Thursday in a tweet. 

‘Yet some already appear to back away from commitments made to the FDA and the public.’

FDA director Scott Gottlieb hinted that some companies seem to be backing away from commitments related to youth’s access to e-cigarettes

In November, the FDA announced sweeping restrictions on flavored tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes popular among teenagers, and restricting sale of fruity or sweet flavors at retail outlets.

Tobacco giant Altria Group Inc (MO.N) and Juul Labs Inc, among other e-cigarette makers, have said that they supported efforts to limit access to e-cigarettes.

In a rare move last week, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory urging aggressive steps against e-cigarette use among teens, which he said has become an ‘epidemic’.

For young people, ‘nicotine is dangerous and it can have negative health effects,’ Adams said in an interview with the Associated Press.

‘It can impact learning, attention and memory, and it can prime the youth brain for addiction.’

Federal officials are scrambling to reverse a recent explosion in teen vaping that public health officials fear could undermine decades of declines in tobacco use. 

An estimated 3.6 million US teens are now using e-cigarettes, representing one in five high school students and one in 20 middle schoolers, according to the latest federal figures.

Separate survey results released last Monday showed twice as many high school students used e-cigarettes this year compared to last year. 

Since 2017, FDA officials had discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to wean adult smokers off cigarettes, but in September the FDA reversed course and warned the industry to address the problem of surging teenage e-cigarette use or risk having their flavored products pulled off the market.

Gottlieb said then that the agency did not predict an ‘epidemic addiction’ among youth, mainly driven by flavored products.

The FDA’s new restrictions were earlier reported by The Washington Post.

Gottlieb says there are no plans to limit the sale of menthol flavored vapes, since those are the ones most commonly used by adults trying to give up smoking.

‘Would you give a recovering alcoholic a whiskey-flavored drink? No. So we don’t want to leave smokers with only tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes,’ Gottlieb told Politico’s Pulsecheck podcast.

What is an e-cigarette and how is it different to smoking tobacco?

An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a device that allows users to inhale nicotine by heating a vapour from a solution that contain nicotine, propylene and flavourings.

As there is no burning involved, there is no smoke like a traditional cigarette.

But while they have been branded as carrying a lower risk than cigarettes, an increasing swell of studies is showing health dangers.

E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, but the vapor does contain some harmful chemicals.

Nicotine is the highly addictive chemical which makes it difficult for smokers to quit.  

Nearly three million people in Britain use e-cigarettes, and more than nine million Americans.


1. Standard e-cigarette

Battery-powered device containing nicotine e-liquid.

It vaporizes flavored nicotine liquid.

2. Juul

Very similar to normal e-cigarettes but with sleeker design and a higher concentration of nicotine.

Thanks to its ‘nicotine salts’, manufacturers claim one pod delivers the amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.

It is composed of an e-cigarette (battery and temperature control), and a pod of e-liquid which is inserted at the end.

The liquid contains nicotine, chemicals and flavorings.

Like other vaping devices, it vaporizes the e-liquid.

3. IQOS by Philip Morris

Pen-shaped, charged like an iPod.

Vaporizes tobacco.

It is known as a ‘heat not burn’ smokeless device, heating tobacco but not burning it (at 350C compared to 600C as normal cigarettes do).

The company claims this method lowers users’ exposure to carcinogen from burning tobacco.


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