SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) — The FDA is cracking down on e-cigarettes, putting some companies on notice unless they address what they’re calling an epidemic of e-cigs among middle and high school students.
E-cigarettes are enticing to children with their sleek packaging. One pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
In an unprecedented move, the Federal Drug Administration is taking action to keep these out of the hands of children.
The electronic cigarette craze has grown into a multi-billion dollar business. Federal regulators are threatening to pull e-cigarettes off the shelves if manufacturers can’t keep them out of the hands of minors.
The Utah Health Department says 11 percent of Utah youth are using e-cigs on a regular basis.
“32 percent of 12th graders have tried these products. Here in Utah, our numbers have doubled in the last year,” said Brittany Karzen, Utah Department of Health, Tobacco Prevention
The FDA sent 1,100 warning letters and issued 131 fines to stores for illegally selling e-cigarettes to minors. The FDA gave Juul and 4 other companies 60 days to fix the problem.
“A lot is due to Juul and its explosion in popularity. It has 72% of the e-cig market. That growing popularity is concerning. They use this product more than others because it is discreet they can hide it and they are flavors they are interested in,” said Karzen.
The FDA says they’ll have boots on the ground inspecting the marketing and sales practices of these products. In a statement, Juul said it is committed to preventing underage use of its product, and it wants to be part of the solution.