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FDA cracks down on e-cigarette retailers selling to minors
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Wednesday that it has issued 1,300 warnings and fines against e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers for selling products to minors.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the coordinated enforcement actions are the largest in the agency's history, targeted at retailers who illegally sold JUUL and other e-cigarette products to minors.
The agency accused manufacturers and retailers of contributing to an "epidemic" of use among kids and teenagers.
The federal actions are the result of a months-long, nationwide, undercover blitz of brick and mortar stores and online retailers, officials said.
Gottlieb warned during a speech at FDA headquarters that the agency is prepared to take additional "significant" steps to curb use of e-cigarettes among minors.
"We see clear signs that youth use of electronic cigarettes has reached an epidemic proportion, and we must adjust certain aspects of our comprehensive strategy to stem this clear and present danger," he said.
"This starts with the actions we're taking today to crack down on retail sales of e-cigarettes to minors."
The FDA on Wednesday also asked five manufacturers of e-cigarettes to put forth plans to "immediately" reverse the trends of youth using their products.
The FDA argues some marketing techniques of e-cigarette companies and retailers are intentionally targeted at kids.
Specifically, Gottlieb said that the various flavors of e-cigarettes, like fruit and candy, are likely the "principal drivers of the youth appeal."