On Wednesday, Scott Gottlieb – the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the policy which restricts the sales of e-cigarette. It was created to tighten circulation eventually eliminate many fruity flavors from the market.
“Evidence proves that young adults are especially captivated by flavored e-cigarettes, and they can purchase these products from both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, though there are many federal controls on sales to those who are under 18,” said Gottlieb.
“With the new proposal stated today, we are putting all retailers and manufacturers on notice,” said Gottlieb, adding that they would be subject to other enforcement actions for selling flavored e-cigarette products without authorization.
The policy, which is currently open for public comments for 1 month, highlights new controls for most flavored e-cigarette products, speeds the FDA’s deadline to reassess flavored nicotine devices and enables it to remove them from the market. If the proposal is finalized, the changes will likely pull some flavored cigars and e-cigarettes from stores, said the FDA.
Also, it could restrict sales of some flavored nicotine units to retailers, vape shops, and websites which are applied age restrictions. The agency, which previously didn’t enforce while reviewing e-cigarette products, is now changing their opinion – but only for the fruity flavors which often attract many under-aged users like crème, mango, and bubble gum.
The FDA is planning to prevent these products from enticing children. These include products that are designed to mimic the shapes of candy or juice boxes.
The policy comes after a lot of pressure on the FDA to curb a recent increase in teen consumption of e-cigarettes. When the agency began regulating e-cigarette products in 2016, it stopped new products penetrating the market and announced those already being distributed might have to submit applications for review starting from 2018. In 2017, Gottlieb gave the industry and agency more time by extending this deadline to 2022.
In 2009, the agency forbade some flavored cigarette products. But it excluded flavored cigars and menthol. However, critics have tried to reverse these exemptions because the flavors attract children.
Proponents of e-cigarette units have strongly defended flavors such as berry and cucumber, saying they help adult smokers stay away from cigarettes. Juul – the market leader in e-cigarette products – stopped retail sales of sweet flavors among FDA pressure and inspection of the San Francisco headquarter.
It is estimated that the number of children using e-cigarette products went up to 78% between 2017 and 2018.