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FDA cracks down on e-cigs sold to kids

May 16, 2018—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on businesses that market and sell e-cigarettes (e-cigs) to kids. In particular, the FDA is focusing on the brand JUUL, which is popular among minors.

What's the concern?

E-cigs may be appealing to kids because they're made with cherry, strawberry, vanilla and mint flavorings. Some also look like a USB flash drive. That makes it hard for parents and teachers to recognize them as e-cigarettes.

The JUUL brand tends to be popular among kids, but the myblu and KandyPens brands have also gotten the FDA's attention.

These products are typically sold as an alternative to regular cigarettes. But most e-cigs still contain nicotine and chemicals. Nicotine rewires the brain and can lead to years of addiction. Some kids don't even know e-cigarettes contain nicotine when they use them.

Another concern is that e-cigs may serve as an introduction to tobacco products, which have serious health risks.

It's illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors. But compliance checks by the FDA in March and April uncovered 40 violations of illegal sales of JUUL to youth.

What the FDA is doing

The FDA has launched a new plan to help prevent kids and teens from becoming addicted to cigarettes. Part of its plan is to hold e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers accountable.

Actions the FDA has taken include:

  • An undercover blitz around the country to crack down on the sale of the products to minors, specifically JUUL. The blitz is happening at stores and online.
  • Contacting eBay about listing JUUL products on its website, which has resulted in the removal of the products from eBay.
  • Requesting information on research and marketing from JUUL Labs to learn why the product is so appealing to kids.

What you can do

The American Heart Association and the American Lung Association warn of the risk that e-cigarettes pose as a stepping-stone to smoking for young people. Adults can help by talking to kids and teens about the dangers of smoking. To learn more, take our quiz on e-cigarettes.

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