F.D.A. Cracks Down on Sales of E-Cigarettes to Minors


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The agency said it had sent warnings to about 40 retailers of Juuls and other e-cigarettes, accusing them of selling the products to minors.

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Nick Cote for The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it was cracking down on the sales of e-cigarettes to minors, especially the popular vaping Juul brand, and said it had issued warning letters to several dozen retailers and demanded that Juul Labs submit company documents with health and marketing information.

The agency said it had conducted an undercover operation this month, and issued the warnings to about 40 retailers, including gas stations and convenience stores, accusing them of violations for selling these products to minors.

In addition, Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the agency had sent Juul Labs a letter, seeking documents related to the company’s marketing tactics used to appeal to youths and on the health research that was conducted to sell the product.

“We don’t yet fully understand why these products are so popular among youth.” Dr. Gottlieb said in a statement. “But it’s imperative that we figure it out, and fast. These documents may help us get there.”

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The Juul products are popular especially because they are more easily hidden from parents and school authorities.

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Nick Cote for The New York Times

Spokeswomen for Juul Labs, based in San Francisco, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning. On its website, the company says it recognizes that its product and other alternatives to traditional combustible cigarettes “continue to be the subject of debate” and said it supports “reasonable regulation” of nicotine products.

“We share public health concerns about cigarettes; in fact, they constitute our company’s mission,” the company’s website says. “We did not create Juul to undermine years of effective tobacco control, and we do not want to see a new generation of smokers. We believe Juul can accelerate cigarette displacement.”

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