Youth vaping is an "epidemic," as far as the FDA is concerned, and if manufacturers don't submit "robust" plans to prevent kids from getting their hands on flavored e-cigarettes, the agency will take action—possibly going so far as to order the flavored products off the shelves. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the plan Wednesday, saying the agency is giving the manufacturers of Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, Blu, and Logic—which make up more than 97% of the US e-cigarette market—60 days to submit their plans, USA Today reports. The agency will then determine whether the plans go far enough.
"No one can look at the data and say there's no problem," Gottlieb says, explaining that the FDA decided to reconsider its approach to the issue after looking at new data. Of the 3.6 million middle and high school students who said in 2017 they were tobacco product users, 2.1 million used e-cigarettes, Bloomberg reports, citing CDC stats. Almost 12% of high school students and 3% of middle school students reported using e-cigarettes in the prior 30 days. "Teenagers are becoming regular users, and the proportion of regular users is increasing," Gottlieb tells USA Today. "We're going to have to take action." Companies whose products are pulled from shelves will have to prove a net positive public health benefit before sales can resume. Flavored e-cigarettes are said to be a tool that helps adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, the main example of a plus the product can claim. (Read more vaping stories.)