The US government is considering banning online sales of vaping products in a bid to curb underage use.
FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb made the remarks during an Axios event in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Current regulations prohibit smokers from buying tobacco products online. Gottlieb said that these may be updated to include tobacco-free e-cigarettes.
The commissioner said:
“We have two problems, one is with appeal. They are too appealing to kids. And one is access, they’re too accessible to kids and we think the online portal is one of the reasons why they’re accessible.”
“We can promulgate regulations to affect how these are marketed, including the online sales, and potentially close them down.”
The FDA recently referred to the teenage vaping problem as an ‘epidemic’, apparently on the back of yet-to-be published research showing a ‘disturbing and accelerating trajectory’ of underage use.
Previous studies in this area have been criticized by experts for being misleading and not distinguishing between experimentation and daily use.
While unable to comment on the new study, cardiologist and e-cigarette authority Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos said that the most recent research published in 2015 showed that e-cigarette use among underage teens was negligible.
Dr Farsalinos said:
“The proportion of never-smoking adolescents who are using e-cigarettes frequently [20 or more days over the past 30 days], including daily use is 0.3 percent. In my opinion, these numbers do not justify the term ‘epidemic’”.