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Too many teens are using Juuls, according to the FDA

Too many teens are using Juuls, according to the FDA

According to the FDA, e-cigarettes have become the most common tobacco product used by teens in the past two years.

Under Wednesday's announcement, the five largest e-cigarette manufacturers will have 60 days to produce plans to reverse underage use of their products.

Since 2017, FDA officials have discussed e-cigarettes as a potential tool to ween adult smokers off cigarettes.

"These alternative nicotine delivery devices can be important for helping adults get off of combustible tobacco as an offramp", said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday. "In the coming weeks, we'll take additional action under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to immediately address the youth access to, and the appeal of, these products".

In April the agency launched a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, created to address some of the known public health risks, such as flavors, that contribute to adolescent use of e-cigarettes. They noted the survey did not ask specifically about Juul, a sleek, heavily-marketed e-cigarette brand that exploded onto the market and accounts for 70 percent of US sales, according to analyst estimates.

The company, which sells pods with flavours such as mango, mint and creme, also defended such products, which it said help adult customers trying to quit traditional smoking.

"We can not allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine", he said. "This could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law".

Gottlieb reiterated his belief that certain e-cigarette liquid flavors - including sweet ones such as mango and cucumber, popular among teenage Juul users - are particularly enticing and even marketed directly to children.

As part of its plan of action to address the epidemic, the FDA also sent more than 1,300 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to minors and issued another 131 civil money penalties to stores that continued to violate the restrictions on sales to minors.

"Far too many teens are being introduced at an early age to e-cigarettes", said Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius in the release.

"We're committed to the comprehensive approach to address addiction to nicotine that we announced a year ago", Gottlieb said.

"I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products".

San Francisco-based Juul, which commands over 60 percent of the e-cigarette market, said it is working to prevent underage use of its products but added that flavors can help adult smokers quit cigarettes.

The FDA moves come as it seeks to balance its approach on e-cigarettes, which can be used to wean lifelong smokers onto less harmful nicotine products, but also risk drawing a new generation to nicotine addiction.

"JUUL Labs will work proactively with FDA in response to its request", a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

And the agency has issued more than 135 No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, which, according to the FDA, "can result in retailers being prohibited from selling tobacco products for specified periods of time".

The FDA point out that, despite lacking tobacco and plenty of the nasties present in normal cigarettes, nicotine itself is hardly a benign substance.

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