E-cigs like Juul: "Existential threat" over smoking by teenagers, says FDA

Photo: Steven Senne (AP)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is increasing the pressure on tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers to take significant steps to keep their products away from teenagers. The agency points out that Juul in particular must fulfill his obligations to do so. Now FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says that all e-cigarettes are exposed to an "existential threat" if they take no action to combat the rising number of smoking children.

"I still believe that e-cigs are a way for adult smokers who are currently addicted to switching cigarettes and switching to products that may not have the same level of risk. If the use of adolescents continues to increase, the entire category is exposed to an existential threat, "says Gottlieb twittered Saturday. "I think if every addicted adult smoker got completely switched to e-cigs, it would mean huge public health gains. However, this opportunity carries a significant risk if the use of children continues to increase. "

At a public hearing in Silver Spring, Maryland on Friday, the Commissioner said that the use of e-cig by middle and high school students in recent years has reached astounding levels, even as the use of flammable cigarettes continues to decline. If the problem persists without the manufacturers of e-cigarette products intervening enough, they could be in deep shit.

"[I]If the epidemic continues to spread, I'm sure the debate will change as to whether these products should even be marketed without approved pre-market tobacco applications, "said Gottlieb. "For some of these products, there could be a game until they successfully complete the regulatory process. I think the stakes are so high. And that would be a blow to any addicted adult smoker who I think could potentially benefit from these products. "

In response to the FDA's continuing criticism of what the agency calls Juul's significant role in inciting teenagers to e-cigs, CEO Kevin Burns said the company's intentions "never included JUUL's products used by adolescents "(even in a New York Times study last year seems to be different).

In a statement to Gizmodo on Saturday, the company said it would be "fully committed to implementing our action plan to limit youth use," which was announced in November. The initiative removed some of their flavored pods from retail outlets, closed social media accounts accused of teenage marketing and provided the site with age verification tools.

"The use of JUUL and other juvenile steam products is completely unacceptable to us and directly contradicts our mission to eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a real alternative to flammable cigarettes," the spokesman said. "We will be a transparent, dedicated and committed partner of the FDA, state lawyers, local governments and community organizations to combat the use of minors."

Now, the time would definitely have come to step into the high gear. The FDA certainly does not seem interested in fucking.