On April 24, 2018 the United States Food and Drug Administration released a public statement outlining its continued priority of regulating tobacco products. The FDA highlighted the following points in their statement:
- FDA cites 40 retailers for violations related to youth sales of JUUL e-cigarettes
- Agency announces a new blitz of retail establishments targeting youth sale violations
- Agency takes new action to examine youth appeal of JUUL
- Agency takes steps to foreclose online sales of JUUL to minors
The FDA outlined that these would be just the first steps in their new effort aimed at stopping youth from using e-cigarettes. The statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., also mentioned, “protecting our nation’s youth from the dangers of tobacco products is among the most important responsibilities of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – and it’s an obligation I take personally.”
The FDA also released specific facts and figures of recent inspections they have performed of tobacco retailers including 908,280 inspections of retail establishments that sell tobacco products. In those inspections the FDA issued 70,350 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated nearly 17,000 civil money penalty cases. These seems like an extraordinary amount of inspections for the agency to perform.
The commissioner also highlighted JUUL and their products due to the current fad among youth. They have proactively engaged with the company to understand their business model and marketing habits.
The FDA also outlined additional enforcement actions focused on companies that they think are marketing products in ways that are misleading to kids. So we’re sure to hear more regarding these actions in the upcoming weeks.
Although the statement had a lot of negative impacts on the industry there was some glimmer of hope in Gottlieb’s statement, “make no mistake. We see the possibility for ENDS products like e-cigarettes and other novel forms of nicotine-delivery to provide a potentially less harmful alternative for currently addicted individual adult smokers who still want to get access to satisfying levels of nicotine without many of the harmful effects that come with the combustion of tobacco. But we’ve got to step in to protect our kids.”