Commissioner for Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb raises the pressure on Juul and Marlboro maker Altria and accuses leaders of abstaining from promises they have made to help fight teenagers in the light of Altria's investment of 12.8 billion . Dollars in e-cigarette maker's last Gottlieb calls the company's CEOs to the agency's headquarters to explain their strategy and once again threatened to withdraw e-cigarettes from the market.
"I'm worried," says Gottlieb CNBC in a telephone interview. "Has something changed? Do they have new data? Do they have a new understanding? Because they have just made a huge commitment to supporting the expansion of pod-based products as they said, contributing to the youth epidemic."
Gottlieb calls Altria CEO Howard Willard and Juul CEO Kevin Burns at the agency's headquarters outside Washington to explain their strategy.
Juul said it suspended the sale of its fruity taste to retailers in November. At that time, Juul outlined a new policy that the stores should follow if they wanted to sell Juul's taste again.
Juul stressed that it would keep out of stores until the FDA issued guidance on where businesses could sell tastes. Gottlieb announced in November that the agency would limit sales of flavor to age-restricted stores such as gun stores. The FDA still has not issued formal policy guidance, but Gottlieb said on Thursday that the agency should publish it within the next 30 days.
Gottlieb said he went away from his first meeting with Juul and thought he and the company shared
"If my understanding is wrong, then I must be educated," he said.
Juul spokesman Matt David said the company is "committed as" ever to prevent under-use of e-cigarettes. "
Altria's Willard sent a letter to Gottlieb last month, saying he wanted to meet with Gottlieb to discuss Altria's investment and how it could help make more adult smokers quit by switch to Juul's nicotine pods.
"At the same time, we know that the prevention of youth use of e-dam products remains a critical priority in order to preserve the long-term viability of e-smoking products for adult smokers who cannot or will not" Willard
Altria said it still agrees with Gottlieb that "underage weapons should be dealt with" and is "obliged to be part of the solution", according to a statement Thursday.
"We look forward to meeting with Commissioner "Altria spokesman Steve Callahan said.
Gottlieb also noted that the FDA can always remove Juul's products from the market. All e-cigarettes should come out of shelves last year while the agency reviewed their safety but Gottlieb gave up producers postponed until August 8, 2022. He threatened Thursday to turn that decision.
While Gottlieb said he hopes it is not necessary, the agency will "definitely" need to if teen vaping trends do not reverse their course.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Youth Tobacco Survey showed the number of high school students using e-cigarettes rose 78 percent in just one year. The number of middle school students using e-cigarettes increased 48 percent over the same period.
Gottlieb said he understands that weaponry is a cultural phenomenon that doesn't just go away immediately. However, the Agency cannot accept another major increase beyond those seen last year.