The FDA has now officially put a ban on any sweet or fruity flavors for small, cartridge-based e-cigarettes. However, they will allow tobacco and menthol flavors as well as any refillable flavor used in large, tank-based vapes to remain on store shelves.
As of Jan 2, the FDA issued a policy prioritizing enforcement against certain unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including the fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution, and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions.
“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes. HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth. We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary.”
The final guidance outlining the agency’s enforcement priorities for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes and e-liquids, comes as the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) results from External Link Disclaimer on e-cigarette use show that more than 5 million U.S. middle and high school students are current e-cigarette users (having used within the last 30 days) – with a majority reporting cartridge-based products as their usual brand.
Beginning 30 days from the publication(Jan 2, 2020) of the notice of the availability of this guidance in the Federal Register, the FDA intends to prioritize enforcement against these illegally marketed ENDS products by focusing on the following groups of products that do not have premarket authorization:
- Any flavored, cartridge-based ENDS product (other than a tobacco- or menthol-flavored ENDS product);
- All other ENDS products for which the manufacturer has failed to take (or is failing to take) adequate measures to prevent minors’ access; and
- Any ENDS product that is targeted to minors or likely to promote use of ENDS by minors.
“The FDA has demonstrated a deep commitment to taking steps to prevent youth from using and becoming addicted to any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. This enforcement policy is an important step in the agency’s ongoing work to ensure these products are not marketed to, sold to, or used by kids, as outlined in the agency’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, including investing in public education campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use, provide resources to educators, parents and community leaders to prevent youth use, as well as further explore how to help those kids who are already addicted to e-cigarettes quit,” said the FDA in their official press release.