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By Maggie Fox
The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to strictly restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarette products to try and keep them out of the children‘s hands and teens, telling a leading FDA official in NBC News Thursday.
In guidelines that will be issued next week, the FDA will limit the sale of flavored, cartridge-based weapon products like Juul to only tobacco stores and waffle stores. [1
9659007] “We will limit the ability of e-cigarette manufacturers to sell the flavored products in convenience stores,” said the official, who spoke on terms of anonymity.
“The fruity flavors will only be available in adult stores, such as tobacco stores, gun stores, of which there are 10,000 in the country.”
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has said that he is worried about what he calls an epidemic of the guns of teenagers and younger children.
Particularly worrying is the increase in the use of approximately rtridge-based products like Juul, which delivers a heavy dose of nicotine alone with flavors in a discreet, easy-to-hide device.
“This applies only to cartridge-based systems so that they will not affect the open pen pencil systems at large,” said the official.
“The open pen pening systems are widely used by adults. The children generally use patron-based systems.”
Washington Post first reported FDA’s plans Thursday.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that adult smoking rates have fallen to their lowest level than at 14 percent. However, the CDC found that 47.4 million American adults or 19 percent of the adult population use tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars or e-cigarettes.
Public health experts have complained that the fruity, candy-like flavors found in e-cigarettes are aimed directly at children and teens.
The FDA has also expressed concern about online sales to teens. In September, the FDA made an unannounced visit to Juul’s headquarters to seek evidence of company marketing practices. In April, the Agency launched what it called “blitz” to stop dealers selling vaping products to underage children. And it has warned several web pages about sales.  Next week, the FDA will do more, said the official.
“We will also limit online sales only to sites where specific age verification goals are introduced and limited access to children we will provide for guidance,” said the official.
“This is just the first step. We will consider other steps if usage does not come down and sharply.”
The FDA action does not affect menthol or mint flavored products. This is because the official has said that it has not been able to limit the use of menthol in traditional combustible cigarettes.
“We do not want to create a situation where the combustible products have features that make them more attractive than e-cigarettes,” said the official.
“In the foreseeable future, we will allow menthol to remain in e-cigarettes.”
Public Health Groups including the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Tobacco Products, Children’s Initiative and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, has called on the FDA to move faster and remove Juul from the market until it undergoes an FDA review.
The FDA and CDC both say it is not clear whether e-cigarettes are safer than smoking burned tobacco but agree with nicotine no in both are very addictive and that teens should not use either.