‘Lots More’ FDA Enforcement on E-Cigs to Come

Forum panelists say focus on youth will lead to more action

WASHINGTON -- Speakers, including officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products, addressed current efforts to reduce teen use of electronic cigarettes, traditional combustibles and other tobacco products at a Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI) forum held Oct. 25-26, according to an analyst newsletter.

Speaking at the FDLI Tobacco & Nicotine Products Regulation & Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products, gave the keynote address, and he expressed a hope of finding “common ground” with tobacco manufacturers and other industry representatives on initiatives aimed at keeping tobacco products from minors, reported Wells Fargo Securities, New York.

“We’re all on this burning platform together,” Zeller said.

In a recent newsletter, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of consumer equity research for Wells Fargo said, “It’s clear that the learning curve remains steep for the FDA and the tobacco industry at a time when the stakes could hardly be higher. High levels of uncertainty and a continued lack of clear foundational rules to guide the [new product] submission process all but ensure a rocky road ahead.”

She noted several themes that came from the first day of the conference:

  • A broad-based desire for action from the FDA.
  • Frustration from both sides of the tobacco issue.
  • The FDA promised “lots more” enforcement action coming related to youth consumption.
  • Too soon to tell if “dual-usage” or the use by smokers of more than one nicotine-delivery system is a solution or problem, with initial findings of a longitudinal path study on toxicant exposure expected in the coming weeks.

The FDA has executed several initiatives in recent weeks to forward its goal of reducing the number of young people using cigarettes and vaping devices, including issuing warning letters to retailers and making direct inquiries with manufacturers. Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group recently announced it will be pulling certain e-cigarette products in response to the FDA’s efforts.

Photograph: Shutterstock

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