The Food and Drug Administration issued a much-anticipated policy that is designed to restrict how and where flavored e-cigarettes are sold — an effort to combat what the agency’s commissioner has called “an epidemic” of underage vaping.
The initiative, a top priority of departing FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, would limit sales of fruity and kid-friendly vaping products to stores that bar minors or have separate adult-only sections. And it says online sellers must tighten age verification and curb bulk sales.
The agency said companies that violate those conditions would be subject to FDA enforcement actions — including having their products ordered off the market.
Gottlieb also moved up by one year — to August 2021 — the deadline for flavored e-cigarette companies to submit product applications for FDA approval to remain on the market. The sales restrictions and new deadline would apply to a vast array of e-cigarette products, including those offered in flavors such as cherry, bubble gum and cotton candy.
“We’re exceedingly concerned about the spike in the use of these products,” said Gottlieb, whose resignation as commissioner will take effect next month. He has said the new policy would make it very difficult for convenience stores and gas stations to continue to sell the specified flavors and predicted that some flavored products would no longer be sold.
The new policy would not apply to mint, menthol and tobacco flavors unless those products were being sold in a way that targeted minors, the agency said. E-cigarette advocates say those products are most often used by adult smokers trying to quit, but anti-tobacco groups are skeptical of the claim, saying there isn’t data to support it.
The new policy was issued as a draft guidance and is similar to the plan Gottlieb outlined in November to combat youth vaping. Its issuance contradicts rumors that the White House was thwarting his efforts to crack down on vaping.
Source: Washington Post