GREENBELT, Md. – This week, a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must start reviewing e-cigarettes in the U.S. marketplace, CNBC/Associated Press reports. The decision comes as North Carolina’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Juul, alleging the e-cig company targeted youth with its advertisements.
In his decision in the federal lawsuit brought by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Academy of Pediatrics, U.S. Judge Paul Grimm ruled that the FDA evaded its legal duty when it put off review of U.S. vaping products for a few years.
In 2016, the agency received authority to regulate e-cigarettes but hasn’t taken action to review the thousands of products currently on the market to give staff and vaping companies more time to get ready for regulation. In his ruling, Grimm labeled the agency’s delay “so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities.”
The FDA is looking at the decision and “will continue to tackle the troubling epidemic of e-cigarette use among kids,” according to Michael Felberbaum, agency spokesman. The FDA could appeal the ruling, which requires the agency and health groups to issue plans for reviewing products within 30 days.
“The courts are clearly pushing FDA—at the behest of medical and consumer groups—to step up their regulatory pressure on industry,” said Marc Scheineson of the law firm Alston & Bird.