Juul Labs, which controls about 70% of the market, said in its statement that "appropriate flavors" play a role in adults changing their smoking habits, but added that they "are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people".
"Critically, FDA for the first time recognizes that it must be addressed by requiring that manufacturers remove flavored products from the market unless those products have been reviewed by FDA, alter current marketing practices, eliminate online sales and take significant steps to curtail illegal sales to kids", Myers said.
While e-cigarettes are thought to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, it's still unclear of the impact of long-term use.
"We're especially focused on the flavored e-cigarettes".
The FDA sent letters to 1,300 retailers selling e-cigarettes made by Juul, Vuse, Blu, MarkTen XL, and Logic Labs, which together make up 97% of the market. JUUL pods, which can be bought in fruit or candy flavors, contain the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
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The announcement comes just days after news that CEO Leslie Moonves was leaving amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. He said he didn't think one note would have resulted in a dismissal after 36 years at the network, "but it did".
They also ordered five e-cigarette brands, including vaping giant JUUL, to submit plans to address teen use of their products.
If the plans fall short, the FDA could block sales of the products by enforcing a requirement that companies provide detailed design and health data about their products before marketing them.
However, there is little consensus about how to regulate the industry. The FDA is demanding what Gottlieb describes as "plans to immediately and substantially reverse" the "clear and present danger" of adolescent vaping.
Fontem Ventures, makers of blu, issued a similar statement. Earlier this year, as criticism of the company mounted, it committed $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency will soon release data that show a "substantial increase" in youth vaping this year compared with 2017. The FDA says more than two million middle and high schoolers regularly used the devices, and it wants both the makers and sellers to help curb this trend.
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San Francisco-based Juul said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit. "And as far as the liquids we carry, we do not pick up brands that have the potential to appeal to children, because we have that responsibility", said Hutsell.
The FDA also warned e-cigarette companies that they have 60 days to show they can keep their products away from kids or risk being taken off store shelves. If underage consumption does not justify a ban on tobacco cigarettes (and I don't think it does), it can not possibly justify a ban on competing products that are much safer.
However, he seemed reluctant to give up on flavored nicotine, because he said it appeals to adult cigarette smokers. Those products could include e-cigarettes, though the FDA has not given any company permission to advertise its device as a quit-smoking aid.
"In my view, they treated these issues like a public relations challenge rather than seriously considering their legal obligations, the public health mandate and the existential threat to these products, and as they did, these risks have mounted", Gottlieb said.
"I'm here to tell them today that this prior approach is over", he said.
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He said his idea was that the two sides sign a treaty first, and then work through the issues on which they are in dispute afterwards.