With many flavored cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products luring kids and youth, the FDA has begun to consider the restriction of flavorings such as menthol and fruit flavors in such products.
hero_image_alt_text===Group of kids with an e-cigarette
thumbnail_alt_text===Group of kids with an e-cigarette
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, agency's commissioner, said the main goal is to protect children.
“The thought of any child starting down a path of a lifelong addiction to tobacco, which could ultimately lead to their death, is unacceptable. We need to take every effort to prevent kids from getting hooked on nicotine.”
FDA does not have the authority to ban tobacco products but is able to apply limits to tobacco sales and marketing.
"Each day in the United States, more than 2,300 youth under the age of 18 years smoke their first cigarette, and nearly 1,900 youth smoke their first cigar," Gottlieb said.
There has been a vociferous outpouring from vapers afraid that regulation will ruin the market for e-cigarettes. Gottlieb said he was mindful of stories he has heard from vapers who say e-cigarettes helped them kick the smoking habit.
But he also noted that fruity flavors, especially, attract youngsters to e-cigarettes, which almost always deliver extremely addictive nicotine.
"The troubling reality is that e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students, and flavors are identified as one of the top three reasons for use. Given these findings, we need to be wary of the role flavors play in attracting youth to initiate on any tobacco product that could lead to regular use — something we clearly want to avoid," Gottlieb said.
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said the FDA's move was "long overdue".
"We encourage the FDA to quickly move beyond information gathering and develop a strong flavoring product standard," Brown said. "There is already clear evidence that flavored tobacco products, including menthol, harm the public health."
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