WASHINGTON – Last week the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to introduce a ban on menthol cigarettes, which is part of a larger push by the agency to control flavored e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the ban on menthol could take over a year to become finalized and another year for it to become enforceable. In 2013, the FDA claimed in a report that menthols are “harder to quit and likely pose a greater health risk than regular cigarettes.”
The FDA is expected to announce sharp restrictions on the sale of most flavored pod-style e-cigarettes, effectively pulling them from most convenience stores and gas stations and requiring strict age-verification controls for online sales.
Per USA Today, the FDA’s ban could also draw legal action. Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations, told the news source that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act "expressly forbids" the FDA from discriminating against any "channel of trade,” and that the very definition of what differentiates a vape store from a convenience store could be difficult to determine.
The Wall Street Journal is also reporting that e-cigarette firm Juul Labs Inc. is planning to stop selling most of its flavored nicotine liquids at bricks-and-mortar stores. Juul would continue selling menthol- and tobacco-flavored products in retail stores, while all flavors would remain on its website.
In late October Altria announced its plans to remove from the market MarkTen Elite and Apex by MarkTen pod-based products “until we receive a market order from FDA or the youth issue is otherwise addressed.”
Stay tuned to NACS Daily for updates this week on the FDA’s forthcoming decisions.
For decades the convenience industry has been leaders in age verification and responsible retailing. NACS is in touch with both the FDA and Congress on this critical issue. NACS urges its members to contact their members of Congress and the FDA to explain the vital role of the convenience store industry as responsible retailers of legal products.
To contact your member of Congress, please click here.
To contact the Food & Drug Administration, please call 301-827-3101.