21 Sep, 2018FORTUNE.COM
As teen vaping rates continue to climb to epidemic levels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to demand action from e-cigarette companies, such as Juul, that sell flavored tobacco pods for e-cigs. Earlier this week, the FDA unveiled a new phase of its educational campaign, “The Real Cost,” devoting $60 million to in-school and online vaping prevention ads. That news came after reports that the FDA would take “historic action” against e-cigarette companies, giving the e-cig makers 60 days to come up with a plan to curb vaping among teens and kids.
On Thursday, the agency announced it would consider taking an additional step toward preventing products from hitting the market that tempt minors. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency is considering fast-tracking the review process on e-cigarette products that would include features to make them less likely to be used by children and teenagers. For example, electronic cigarettes could have a bluetooth feature installed that would shut off the devices near schools.
“I think if someone came to us with a good idea about how a product could be modified to be less appealing to kids or less prone to misuse by children, we’d be very interested in that product, and we’d be very interested in having a discussion around that and how we could put that through an efficient regulatory process,” Gottlieb told CNBC.
As youth access to e-cigs and vape pens has multiplied, it has created another problem in addition to heightened tobacco use. One in 11 teens have vaped marijuana using e-cigarettes, according to a recent study.