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September 13, 2018

FDA must regulate e-cigarettes to protect children

(New York, USA) Global health organization Vital Strategies today welcomed news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given five makers of popular vaping devices – Juul Labs, RJR Vapor, Altria Group, Imperial Brands and Logic – 60 days to prove they can keep their products away from minors. If they fail, the FDA may act to take these flavored products off the market. The agency also sent warning letters to 1,100 retailers and issued another 131 fines for selling e-cigarettes to minors.

When the FDA announced its Tobacco Plan last year, Vital Strategies expressed its concern about the delay in regulating e-cigarettes. This report suggests that concern was warranted.

José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies, said: “We are pleased that the FDA is considering stronger action on regulating e-cigarette products to protect children’s health and we urge them to follow through with meaningful and effective measures. More than two million middle and high school students were regular users of e-cigarettes last year. Despite the industry’s claims that they don’t target children, their products are clearly designed to appeal to youth, including slick designs and mint, candy, fruit and chocolate-flavored e-liquids that are cited by 31 percent of students as their reason for using e-cigarettes.

“We know the tobacco industry is using social media to promote e-cigarettes and combustible tobacco products to minors. A research study has identified the emotional appeals to youth in e-cigarette marketing, including images of happiness (68% of ads), friendship (41%), sex (24%), and success (24%) and over half featured youth-friendly animation.

“Experience with combustible cigarettes teaches us the industry won’t regulate itself. Big tobacco and big vape use harm reduction among current adult smokers as an argument to avoid appropriate regulation of their products and marketing strategies, making children more vulnerable to the industry’s attempts to get a new generation hooked on its products. Stronger regulation is critical to protecting youth from addiction and harm related to e-cigarettes”

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact press@vitalstrategies.org.

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