US companies have only 60 days to “provide [a] plan for mitigating youth sales” or else their flavours may be restricted.

The Food and Drug Administration has just published a new statement calling for US e-cigarette brands to take direct action in curbing underage use of its products or face strict regulatory action.

Five companies have been named in the warning. These are Vuse, Blu, MarkTen XL, Logic and market leaders JUUL.

A total of 1,300 retail outlets have also been issued with the stark warning.

The FDA says these companies in particular, “comprise over 97 percent of the US market for e-cigarettes.”

JUUL has long been the subject of controversy and its manufacturers have recently taken prominent steps towards calming fears that some devices have contributed to a teen vape epidemic.

In the September 12 press release, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD said:

“We’re committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced last year. But at the same time, we see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger….Today, we asked five e-cigarette manufacturers to put forward plans to immediately and substantially reverse these trends, or face a potential decision by the FDA to reconsider extending the compliance dates for submission of premarket applications.”

The extent of scrutiny and scapegoat these major US brands face has not been warmly received by the vaping industry, who are not convinced by some of the accusations thrown at flavourings as factors. The notion that vaping is a ‘gateway’ to smoking is also hotly contested.

Despite this, Dr Gottlieb reasserted his belief in the link between flavours and underage appeal, saying:

“I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products.”

In a year that has seen warning letters issued and an “undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers” this is the agency’s harshest tactic yet, and may be the most explicit evidence that e-liquid flavourings are facing a threat at the federal level.