E-Cig Sales Continue to Slide

Recent federal regulatory changes have contributed to the slump.

March 06, 2020

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.