WASHINGTON—Sales of electronic cigarettes have continued to drop, with recent changes in federal regulations playing a large role in a decrease in demand for closed-pod cartridges, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Nielsen reported this week that overall sales of mainstream e-cigarette products plummeted 14.5% in total dollar amount for the four weeks that ended February 22, compared with the year-ago period. In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released new tobacco guidelines that directed manufacturers to stop producing, distributing and selling “unauthorized flavorings” of e-cig cartridges. Retailers had to remove those products from their shelves by February 6.
The Nielsen report also showed that cartridge e-cig sales dropped by 7.4% year over year, while open-pod e-cigarettes rose 36.3%. “The e-cigarette category has now delivered sequential declines for six of the last seven periods following the recent vaping-related illness outbreak and recent regulatory changes,” said Vivian Azer, an analyst with Cowen & Co.
Advocates for vaping predicted that many vape shops will close down after the May 12 deadline to remove flavored nicotine liquids. “Our initial feeling is that while the open-pod flavors will not be a priority enforcement, any vape shop that mixes flavors will have to apply by May 12” or go out of business,” said Lyle Beckwith, NACS senior vice president of government relations.