FDA chief blames Juul for ‘epidemic’ of teens using e-cigarettes

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb singled out vaping giant Juul on Thursday for what he called an epidemic of high school students using e-cigarettes.

Gottlieb pointed the finger at Juul a day after the Food in addition to Drug Administration ordered the vaping giant in addition to four various other brands to submit plans to discourage teen use of their products within 60 days.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Gottlieb said much of the teenage use of vapes or e-cigs will be being driven by Juul. “I think we need to acknowledge that will,” he said.

In response, a Juul spokeswoman said the products are intended for adult smokers only in addition to “no minor or non-nicotine user should ever try JUUL.”

“Our packaging includes a prominent nicotine label in addition to clearly states for adult smokers,” she said. “We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, in addition to we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people.”

Gottlieb told CNBC the FDA will soon publicly Discharge fresh data showing the proportion of high school teenagers using e-cigarettes has “reached nothing short of an epidemic.”

Sales of Juul products have skyrocketed, helping the company capture a 72 percent of share of the market, according to Nielsen data. The San Francisco-based company sold $1.29 billion in vape kits in addition to nicotine pods during the 12 months that will ended Aug. 11 — more than half of the $2.31 billion for the entire category, according to Nielsen data cited by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.

On Wednesday, the Food in addition to Drug Administration ordered Juul in addition to four various other brands — Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigs, in addition to Logic — to submit plans to discourage teen use of their products within 60 days.

Their products, available in sweet flavors, are well-known with young people who can hide the sleek devices by parents in addition to teachers.

Gottlieb said Thursday the agency hasn’t heard a direct response by any of the manufacturers however when they do respond, he will “hear them out over the next 60 days before we take action.”

“I’m keeping an open eye to see what the manufacturers are willing to do,” Gottlieb said, adding he has “strong support” by Secretary of Health in addition to Human Services Alex Azar.

Gottlieb previously served as a senior policy advisor for the Centers for Medicare in addition to Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush.

In 2016, more than 2 million U.S. middle in addition to high school students used e-cigarettes over a 30 day period, according to the Centers for Disease Control in addition to Prevention. The CDC cautions that will nicotine exposure can harm adolescents’ brain development.

The FDA in March made not bad on a promise in addition to issued a formal notice of proposed rulemaking for maximum nicotine levels for traditional in addition to e-cigarettes. The agency, at the time, said the idea was seeking input on what that will level should be in addition to guidance on whether to implement that will fresh standard all at once or gradually.

Gottlieb said Thursday the agency has long commended e-cigarettes for their potential to move adults away by combustible products. “however the idea cannot come at the expense of hooking a whole generation of kids on to nicotine in addition to eventually onto tobacco products,” he said.

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