Hyperbole epidemic

US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and departing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, penned an op-ed in The Washington Post last week warning of a regulatory crackdown on the electronic cigarette industry if teen use didn’t decline, according to a story by Tal Axelrod published at thehill.com.

Gottlieb, who announced his resignation earlier this month, has repeatedly raised concerns about teenage use of e-cigarettes. And the FDA threatened earlier this year to take these products off the market if vaping rates didn’t drop in the coming months.

‘The e-cigarette craze among teenagers has become an epidemic,’ the two wrote in the joint op-ed.

‘We agree with those who believe that e-cigarettes may offer a lower-risk alternative for adult smokers who still want access to nicotine. But the continued availability of this opportunity to adults is being endangered by the e-cigarette industry’s slowness to address the dangers its products pose to teens.

‘While we pursue changes to regulatory policy, we call on the industry – manufacturers and retailers – to step up with meaningful measures to reduce the access and appeal of e-cigarettes to young people.’