Utah Attorney General calls on FDA to increase youth nicotine restrictions

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BERLIN, GERMANY – MARCH 01: In this photo illustration the owner of a shop that sells electronic cigarettes demonstrates how to use one on March 1, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. The German government has announced that it classifies the liquids used in electronic cigarettes as pharmaceuticals because the liquids contain nicotine, and that sale of the liquids requires certification. An estimated 1.2 to 2 million people in Germany use electronic cigarettes, and the retailers that sell the liquids now face the problem that they are breaking the law. Electronic cigarettes have thus far been in a legal grey area with some lawmakers pushing for conclusive studies to determine their potential health effects. (Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has joined a coalition of 31 Attornies General calling on the FDA to address the surge of youth nicotine addiction.

A letter to FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, signed by the 31 Attornies General, claims the “youth-friendly” flavors of nicotine products are being marketed to entice children and teens.

The coalition is calling on the FDA to prohibit non-tobacco flavors, limit nicotine amounts, and restrict marketing,

“E-cigarettes have a reputation of being ‘harmless’ compared to traditional cigarettes. They’re not,” said Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak. “The reality is that young people’s lungs can be severely damaged by these products. In the last decade, Utah has seen a drastic increase in use among youth and young adults. Because the candy and fruit flavors of these products make them easy to like, eliminating those flavors can prevent our youth from creating a lifelong unhealthy habit.”

According to the letter from the AG’s office, nicotine use among high school students has jumped dramatically over the last decade, from just 1.5 percent in 2011 to 11.7 percent in 2017, and then to 27.5 percent in 2019.

“We are dedicated to protecting Utah children and preserving their health in any way we can. We asked the FDA to lower the amount of nicotine in these products, to stop marketing them to youth, and to eliminate the flavors that entice young people to use,” the Utah Attorney General’s Office said in a tweet Thursday afternoon.

The FDA is expected to decide whether e-cigarettes and oral nicotine products should be allowed to remain on the market starting on September 9.

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