FDA threatens crackdown to tackle 'epidemic' of youth vaping
The American food and drug administration threatened to move against e-cigarettes as youth vaping levels reach "epidemic proportion" on Wednesday.
A report from the FDA said that flavoured electronic cigarettes may have to be taken off the market if the industry fails to do more to discourage the growing use of the products by young people, targeting products such as Juul, Altria’s MarkTen, Imperial Brands’ blu and British American Tobacco’s Vuse and Logic.
The FDA said the companies had 60 days to submit "robust" plans to curtail youth vaping or risk their products being taken off the shelves.
Stocks initially dropped at the news but have since recovered after speculation that any crackdown would not be as severe as had first been feared.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Bloomberg: "I have grown increasingly concerned around what we see as rising youth use in these products, and I’m disappointed in the actions the companies have taken to try to address this."
A separate report from the centre for disease control and prevention said that of 3.6m middle and high-school students who said in 2017 they are current tobacco-product users, 2.1m used e-cigarettes.
Vape sales reached $10bn worldwide in 2017, rising sharply from just $20m in 2008 according to data from Wells Fargo and Agora Financial.
Gottlieb indicated that Juul, which he cited as driving "a lot of the youth use", and other e-cigarette firms must demonstrate that the benefits to adults who use e-cigarettes to stop smoking outweigh the risks associated with youth vaping.
British American Tobacco's shares were up 6.15% at 3,773.00p and Imperial Brands' were up 3.45% at 2,698.50p at 1615 BST.
This was a rare case where a regulatory clampdown positively effects the firm being targeted, said market analyst Chris Beauchamp at IG.
"However, we also saw BAT request the FDA reviews their ‘heat-not-burn’ products that would likely prove another revenue source, appealing particularly to previous smokers. With Phillip Morris previously seeking to sue BAT over their Glo tobacco heating products, this approach to the FDA helps raise hopes that the firm will be able to leave those fears behind."