Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey results
Every day in the U.S., more than 2,500 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette and more than 400 youth become daily cigarette smokers. It is also clear from these most recent numbers that youth are continuing to experiment with, or becoming regular users of, a wide range of other tobacco products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has invested heavily in compelling, science-based campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of tobacco use. Our work to ensure we’re reaching our audience with powerful messages that raise awareness, shift beliefs and ultimately save lives by changing behaviors is having a meaningful impact. In fact, “The Real Cost” campaign has already helped prevent nearly 350,000 kids from smoking cigarettes since it launched in 2014.
Another pillar of our efforts is to make sure retailers understand and take seriously their responsibility of keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of children. In particular, the FDA has issued more than 4,000 warning letters to brick and mortar and online retailers for selling e-cigarettes, cigars, or hookah tobacco to minors since new youth access restrictions went into effect in August 2016.
We plan to build on these vital efforts to reduce tobacco-related disease and death.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, promotes and protects the public health by, among other things, assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.