Following a turbulent time in the US, FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb has said he, “will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes.”

Dr Gottlieb has made a lengthy ‘state of the nation’ statement, drawing to an end what has been a couple of weeks of speculation and nervousness around vaping in the US.

The FDA says it has new research which shows there has been a sharp rise in e-cigarette use, promoting its new ‘forceful steps’ to “firmly confront and reverse youth epidemic.”

The research, which the FDA says it has known about for several months, appears to Showa jump in the number of teens using vape products in the US:

“The number of US high school students who reported being current e-cigarette users increased 78 percent between 2017 and 2018 to 3.05 million (or 20.8 percent).”

The public health agency, which has set its sights on the US vape industry, says it believes the research to prove the effects of the gateway theory, linking the use of e-cigarettes to the eventual use of cigarettes.

“In addition, research shows that, compared with non-users, youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to transition to conventional cigarettes ‒ risking a lifetime of addiction to smoking and resulting smoking-attributable disease.”

Among the steps being introduced is a revision of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) compliance policy as it applies to deemed ENDS products which are flavoured. However it has been clarified that tobacco, mint and menthol flavours in e-cigarette products will not be affected, as Dr Gottlieb reflects on “a careful balancing of public health considerations,” in acknowledging that mint and menthol-flavours are more popular with adults than teens. However, he did not rule out taking action on these flavours further down the line.

“Today, I’m directing the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) to revisit this compliance policy as it applies to deemed ENDS products that are flavored, including all flavors other than tobacco, mint and menthol. The changes I seek would protect kids by having all flavored ENDS products (other than tobacco, mint and menthol flavors or non-flavored products) sold in age-restricted, in-person locations and, if sold online, under heightened practices for age verification.”

“Any approach to mint- and menthol-flavored ENDS must acknowledge the possibility that the availability of these flavors in ENDS may be important to adult smokers seeking to transition away from cigarettes.”

Vapouround understands that significant action is also expected to occur over menthol cigarettes and cigars, following the FDA’s most recent announcement.

In today’s statement, Dr Gottlieb said:

“The data from this nationally representative survey, conducted of middle and high school students, show 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. These data shock my conscience: from 2017 to 2018, there was a 78 percent increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48 percent increase among middle school students. The total number of middle and high school students currently using e-cigarettes rose to 3.6 million — that’s 1.5 million more students using these products than the previous year. Additionally, more than a quarter (27.7 percent) of high school current e-cigarette users are using the product regularly (on 20 or more days in the past month). More than two-thirds (67.8 percent) are using flavored e-cigarettes. Both these numbers have risen significantly since 2017.

These increases must stop. And the bottom line is this: I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. We won’t let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build. We’ll take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing.” 


To read the FDA commissioner’s statement in full, click here.