FDA proposes ban on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars

Gladys Abbott
November 16, 2018

And the bottom line is this: "I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes", said Gottlieb.

A total of 3.6 million U.S. youths reported vaping at least once in the past month, the data showed. Under the policy, all-ages stores such as gas stations and convenience stories can no longer sell flavored vapes in full view of minors.

Data released on Thursday by the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a 78 percent increase in high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, compared with the prior year.

Since previous year, the number of middle- and high-schoolers using e-cigarettes has exploded from 2.1 million to 3.6 million, according to Gottlieb, who called it an "epidemic".

This is a result of a rise in use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school students.

The battery-powered devices heat a nicotine liquid that users inhale, and are gaining popularity in the United States and overseas, particularly among young people, which Gottlieb has previously described as an "epidemic".

But Koval remains concerned about flavored e-cigarettes.

The primary concern most experts have about youth e-cigarette use is that most of these products contain nicotine, which is addictive, says Jonathan Klein, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of IL at Chicago.

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Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said "it is widely recognized that e-cigarettes are the gateway to smoking tobacco cigarettes for teens and young adults".

The reason mint- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes are not included is they are more popular with adults who may be using them to decrease or stop their use of traditional cigarettes.

Health experts applauded the FDA move.

"Overall, the proposal on menthol cigarettes and on flavored cigars has the potential to make an enormous public health impact", said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

While some are celebrating the FDA's new restrictions targeting flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, the leader of Truth Initiative said it's not enough.

Getting out ahead of the FDA announcement, Juul on Tuesday stopped filling store orders for mango, fruit, creme and cucumber pods and will resume sales only to retailers that scan IDs and take other steps to verify a buyer is at least 21. We did extend the compliance dates on the e-cigarettes when I initially came aboard, again, to try to give them time to come in with applications to the agency, to try to demonstrate what they need to demonstrate to remain on the market, because we do - we do recognize that there may be an opportunity for adults using these products.

Murray Garnick, Altria's general counsel, said the company expects that establishing product standards on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars "will be a multi-year, deliberative process".

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