Feds to Ban Unauthorized, Non-Tobacco-Flavored E-Cigs

FDA plans to pull all flavored cartridges from the market to discourage youth vaping.

September 12, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced that the Food and Drug Administration will finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks aimed at clearing the marketplace of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products, including mint-, menthol- and fruit-flavored vape products.

In a news release, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the FDA plans to pull all flavored e-cigarette cartridges from the market, leaving only tobacco-flavored products, in an effort to discourage under-age vaping. He met with President Trump and Norman Sharpless, FDA commissioner, at the White House Wednesday morning to discuss the upcoming ban.

The announcement comes after First Lady Melania Trump tweeted Monday about the dangers of e-cigarettes and coincides with the first anniversary of the FDA declaring that teenage e-cig use has become an epidemic.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” said Azar. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, there has been a continued increase in youth e-cigarette use, especially of non-tobacco e-cig flavors. Preliminary data show that more than a quarter of high school students were current (past 30 days) e-cigarette users in 2019, with an overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users citing the use of popular fruit, menthol or mint flavors.

Following a rule which became effective Aug. 8, 2016, all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products were expected to file premarket tobacco product applications with the FDA within two years. ENDS products currently on the market are not being legally marketed and are subject to government action, the news release said. Details regarding policy enforcement will be included with additional information that the FDA will announce in coming weeks.

“NACS will be watching the implementation of this policy closely to ensure that it doesn’t disadvantage a particular retail channel,” said Anna Ready Blom, NACS director of government relations.

As reported in NACS Daily, the FDA has held retailers and manufacturers accountable for marketing and sales practices of e-cigarettes. The agency has also issued warning letters that resulted in the market removal of dozens of e-liquid products resembling kid-friendly juice boxes, cereal and candy. Additionally, the FDA and FTC cited firms that make and sell flavored e-liquids for violations related to online posts by social media influencers on their behalf.