The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to analyze findings from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS). Results from the survey indicate that 1.8 million fewer US youth are using e-cigarettes in 2020 compared with the results from the 2019 survey, according to a press release from the FDA.1

Currently, 3.6 million US youth are engaged in e-cigarette use. Although this is good news, the agency noted that the decline followed 2 years of steady increases in youth e-cigarette use.2 The FDA maintains that e-cigarette use in children remains a public health crisis and announced new measures aimed at further decreasing youth e-cigarette use.

The FDA’s new premarket review process, established on September 9, 2020, ensures that both new tobacco products and products currently on the market undergo a “robust scientific evaluation.” The administration hopes that this evaluation will protect consumers, particularly children, from the detrimental effects of tobacco use.

“Companies must demonstrate that each product meets the applicable statutory criteria for receiving marketing authorization, such as whether marketing the product is appropriate for the protection of the public health,” the FDA stated in the press release.


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The FDA plans to enforce this regulation by issuing warning letters to companies who sell or distribute unauthorized disposable or flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS); these letters state that the unauthorized products must be removed from the market. So far, 3 ENDS manufacturers were sent warning letters: EL Vape LLC, Flavour Warehouse LTD, and Pretty Women UK LTD. The FDA noted that products sold by these companies are marketed with cartoon images that may appeal to children.

According to the NYTS data, there has been an alarming uptick in the use of disposable e-cigarettes by youth. In 2020, 26.5% of high school e-cigarette users choose disposable e-cigarettes, an increase from 2.4% in 2019. Among middle school e-cigarette users, 15.2% use disposable e-cigarettes, an increase from 3% in 2019.2 Researchers found that more than 8 out of 10 youth e-cigarette users consume flavored products; fruit, mint, candy, and menthol were reported to be the most common.2

“We are committed to addressing the public health crisis of youth e-cigarette use by, among other things, focusing product review and enforcement on youth-appealing products and investing in campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use,” the FDA stated in the press release. “We will remain vigilant in monitoring the marketplace, expanding our public education efforts and using our regulatory authority – changing course as necessary – to further ensure all tobacco products, and e-cigarettes in particular, are not marketed to, sold to, or used by kids.

References

  1. National survey shows encouraging decline in overall youth e-cigarette use, concerning uptick in use of disposable products [news release]. Washington, DC: United States Food & Drug Administration; September 9, 2020. Accessed September 18, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/national-survey-shows-encouraging-decline-overall-youth-e-cigarette-use-concerning-uptick-use?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.
  2. Wang TW, Neff LJ, Park-Lee E, Ren C, Cullen KA, King BA. E-cigarette use among middle and high School students — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69(37):1310-1312.