to launch campaign against e-cigarette use among youth
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[August 09, 2017] By
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hot on the heels of
its proposal to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes, the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration announced plans on Tuesday for an education campaign
to discourage use of electronic cigarettes among youth.
The plan follows the agency's proposal last month to both lower
nicotine in combustible cigarettes and extend by four years the date
by which e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to apply for
authorization to sell their products.
Its new policy "aims to strike a careful balance between the
regulation of all tobacco products, and the opportunity to encourage
development of innovative tobacco products that may be less
dangerous than combustible cigarettes," FDA Commissioner Scott
Gottlieb said in a statement.
Gottlieb is walking a tightrope between satisfying the interests of
tobacco control advocates, who like the idea of lowering nicotine
levels in cigarettes, and e-cigarette companies that have been
lobbying for a lighter regulatory hand.
But while they welcomed the proposal to lower nicotine content in
conventional cigarettes, public health experts disapprove of the
proposal to extend the deadlines by which e-cigarette companies will
be required to seek authorization for new and existing products.
The plan means products with flavors that appeal to children will be
available longer than they would have been without the extension.
The new education campaign could go some way towards mitigating
More than 2 million middle- and high-school students in the United
States were current users of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices
in 2016 and half of all middle and high school students who used a
tobacco product of some sort used two or more, the FDA said.
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Gottlieb said the figures reflect "the troubling reality that they
are the most commonly-used tobacco product among youth."
The education campaign will be part of the agency's "The Real Cost"
campaign to discourage cigarette use and will begin this fall. A
full-scale campaign will be launched in 2018. It will start by
releasing new digital material to educate youth about the potential
for nicotine to rewire a teen's brain and create cravings that can
lead to addiction.
The FDA said it estimates "The Real Cost" campaign to have prevented
nearly 350,000 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 from
starting to smoke from 2014 to 2016.
(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Nick Zieminski
and Frances Kerry)
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