The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has said he intends to stop vaping from being legal in the country if companies don’t work harder to stop marketing to youth. This was Gottlieb’s most direct threat against e-cigarette companies. He said that if they don’t cease attempting to appeal to young people, they will face an “existential threat.”
The Effort to Stop Vaping Among Teens
Gottlieb explained that he found the recent explosive growth of vaping among teens to be horrific. He also pointed to Juul, the leading e-cigarette company, by name to draw attention to his message. The commissioner has already placed the spotlight on products such as those that are candy-flavored, as well as on heavy handed marketing techniques, saying that they need to be scaled back. His recommendations to stop vaping among teens have not had a significant impact on the majority of e-cigarette company activities.
The FDA has the authority to stop vaping product companies from being able to sell their products. It also has the power to require those companies to have to progress through the entire official formal FDA approval process. Until now, the FDA has not required these companies to seek a formal approval. This has been a matter of significant controversy from organizations such as the American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
Moving Forward to Stop Vaping in the Wrong Age Groups
Gottlieb has now stated that he is prepared to proceed with the requirement for vaping product companies to seek formal FDA approval.
“I’ll tell you this. If the youth use continues to rise, and we see significant increases in use in 2019, on top of the dramatic rise in 2018, the entire category will face an existential threat,” said Gottlieb. He added that if he feels required to do so, none of these products will be legal until they are able to “successfully traverse the regulatory process.” He will stop vaping product sales until they can finish the approval process
Gottlieb is Not Alone in the Fight to Stop Vaping Among Adolescents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data has shown a skyrocketing increase in vaping among children and teens. The CDC released data in November 2018 showing a 78 percent increase among high school students. This underscores the need to stop vaping from being as appealing and readily accessible to youth. CDC figures estimate that 3.6 million American high school and middle school students are e-cigarette users.