AAP leaders say the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) new crackdown on e-cigarette sales to teens doesn’t go far enough to protect youths.
The FDA announced Wednesday it has issued more than 1,300 warnings letters and fines to retailers selling e-cigarettes to minors in what it called the “largest single enforcement action in agency history.” It also is giving five of the largest manufacturers 60 days to come up with plans to keep their products out of the hands of teens, a move the Academy disagrees with.
“The Academy urges the agency to use its existing authority to immediately regulate all e-cigarettes,” AAP President Colleen A. Kraft, M.D., M.B.A., FAAP, said in a statement. “… If FDA continues to delay meaningful regulation, a generation of young people will become addicted to these dangerous products, which are being marketed to them in appealing, child-friendly flavors.”
Last year, more than 2 million middle and high school students were using e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine that can harm developing brains and toxic chemicals that can cause cancer. FDA officials say use among youths has become an epidemic.
“E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teens,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement. “The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end.”
While the Academy applauded the acknowledgement of teen e-cigarette use as an epidemic, it took issue with the FDA’s reliance on manufacturers to stop it. The Academy also has been critical of the FDA’s 2017 decision to extend the deadline for e-cigarette manufacturers to submit product information until 2022. In March, the Academy and other health groups sued the FDA saying it is putting children at risk by allowing the e-cigarettes to stay on the market while they await a review.
“FDA has the ability today to do what tobacco companies can’t and won’t do: take effective steps to reduce and eliminate youth use of e-cigarettes,” Dr. Kraft said.