According to the FDA sent warnings to 1,300 retailers and demanded that five manufacturers of e-cigarettes, including Juul Labs, prove they can curb youth use.

Juul Labs is under fire again. But this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has declared youth vaping an "epidemic" and started an unprecedented crackdown on retailers and e-cigarette manufacturers. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the new series of actions, and threatened a potential ban on flavored e-cigs, in an open letter on Wednesday.

After an "undercover, nationwide blitz" this summer against online and brick-and-mortar retailers who sell e-cigarettes, the agency has issued more than 1,300 warning letters, some including hefty fines, to retailers who illegally sold the Juul and other e-cigarettes to minors. But it doesn't stop there.

In the letter, the FDA warned that Juul Labs and the makers of four other popular e-cigarettes (Blu, Logic, Vuse, MarkTen XL) have 60 days to submit plans that prove they can keep their products out of the hands of minors. If they fail to do so, the FDA said it may require brands to remove "some or all of their flavored products" from the market.

According to the FDA, this is the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the agency's history — the latest in a series of actions that are part of the FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, aimed at preventing youth access and reducing tobacco-related disease and death.

"While we remain committed to advancing policies that promote the potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, that work can’t come at the expense of kids. We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine," Gottlieb said in a statement.

There are many different e-cigarettes, also called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), on the market. But the Juul — often dubbed the "iPhone of E-cigs" — has gained unparalleled popularity in the last year.

The battery-powered device works by converting liquid into a vapor, which the user inhales. The liquid is inside pre-filled cartridges called "JUULpods," which come in flavors like fruit medley and crème brûlée at 5% or 3% nicotine strength. Pods contain about as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes and are meant to give 200 puffs. The devices are small, discrete, and easy to use in places where smoking is unacceptable.


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