The FDA announced a proposal Wednesday for new restrictions on flavored e-cigarette sales in an effort to stop a recent rise in youth vaping.
In a statement announcing the new regulations, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb expressed his hopes that the FDA’s efforts will allay the “epidemic-level rise in youth e-cigarette use” and put the US back on track to overcoming “one of the most pernicious public health challenges of our times–the death and disease caused by cigarette smoking.” Gottlieb noted that the surge in e-cigarette use threatens US progress toward reducing nicotine dependence, citing recent CDC data that more than 3.6 million middle and high school students reported e-cigarette use in 2018, up from 2.1 million in 2017. According to Gottlieb, “this is particularly troubling given that research shows that kids using e-cigarettes are more likely to take up combustible cigarettes.”
The FDA’s proposal requires stores to restrict flavored e-cigarettes such as Juul to areas off limits to anyone under age 18 and verify the age of customers seeking to purchase these products. Gottlieb also announced a new advertisement campaign to educate youth about the risks of e-cigarettes.
Despite opposition from conservative groups who have criticized the new regulations as government overreach, Gottlieb stated that his policies have
broad support within the Trump Administration. Nobody wants to see children becoming addicted to nicotine. … Our policies have been announced and advanced through a careful and deliberate process that involved the formulation of a broad consensus among those whose efforts are needed in making sure that these rules and guidances come to fruition.
The new guidelines follow the FDA’s announcement in 2018 of an effort to crackdown on the recent surge of youth e-cigarette use and will go into effect after a 30-day notice-and-comment period.