FDA Launches Searchable Database for Tobacco Products

The database lists products, including e-cigarettes, that may be legally marketed. However, it’s incomplete.

March 29, 2024

The FDA just unveiled its Searchable Tobacco Products Database, which it says is a new list of over 17,000 tobacco products—including e-cigarettes—that may be legally marketed in the United States.

FDA said the database provides information on three categories of products:

1) New tobacco products that received marketing authorization through one of FDA’s three pathways to market a new tobacco product.
2) Pre-existing tobacco products established through a voluntary determination program.
3) Provisional tobacco products that were removed from review.

However, this is an incomplete picture of what can be marketed. FDA has only approved less than two dozen e-cigarette products and that is reflected in the database. The database fails to include all categories of products that can be on the market, like products that are subject to administrative stays and review.

Confusion over what vape products retailers can or cannot sell has been a pain point for store owners, who have asked the FDA for more transparency regarding products, especially e-cigarettes.

“We have asked FDA numerous times for complete information about what can—and cannot—be sold in stores and they have declined to provide it,” Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic initiatives, told the New York Times in an article published earlier this month, detailing how a group of senators petitioned chief executives from top convenience retailers to end the sale of illegal flavored vapes. “It is long past time for FDA to provide that clarity and aggressively enforce the law.”

Earlier this week, the FDA issued warning letters to 61 retailers for selling unauthorized e-cigarette products, warning that failure to correct violations could result in additional FDA actions such as an injunction, seizure and/or civil money penalties.

To date, FDA has issued more than 550 warning letters and more than 100 civil money penalty actions to retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes, reported NACS Daily.