The draft compliance policy is undergoing a 30 day comment period. Once the regulations are finalized, the FDA would take action against stores that are selling flavored vaping products that are accessible to minors as well as against websites that sell them without verifying the buyer’s age or enforcing a maximum quantity that they will sell to any individual person.
“We expect that some flavored e-cigarette products will no longer be sold at all,” said FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement on Wednesday.
The FDA is also proposing a new rule that would move up the date that products can be sold without undergoing pre-market review from the federal agency. In 2017, the FDA decided that products that were on the market before August 2016 could still be sold without being reviewed up until 2022. If finalized, the new deadline would be August 8, 2021.
There are a few flavors that are exempt from the new proposed policies: tobacco, menthol, and mint. Gottlieb has previously stated that he believes these specific flavors can help adults make the switch from smoking tobacco cigarettes, but that other flavors are designed to be “kid-friendly” ?.
“E-cigarette use among kids has become so widespread, so pervasive, and so troubling, that we risk addicting an entire generation of children on nicotine and watching the dramatic gains we’ve made in reducing smoking rates be erased,” the commissioner said in his statement on Wednesday.
Scott Gottlieb has made a name for himself as an anti-vaping zealot. While other countries (such as the UK) have completely embraced the harm-reduction potential of vaping, the United States Food and Drug Administration has been on a crusade against the alleged “epidemic” of teen vaping.
Juul Labs, manufacturer of the most popular e-cigarette on the market, has born the brunt of Gottlieb’s criticism. The company has been scrambling to regain control of their image after being accused of deliberating marketing their products to children.
Juul Labs has switched to using only older smokers in their ads to emphasize the harm-reduction potential of their products. They have also canceled their affiliate program and shuttered US-based social media accounts to help control their branding.
Gottlieb will soon be meeting with executives from both Juul and its partner Altria to discuss the new regulations.