publication date: Jan. 3, 2020

FDA guidance restricts e-cigarette flavors, leaving tobacco and menthol on the market

By Alexandria Carolan & Matthew Bin Han Ong

FDA Jan. 2 issued a final guidance that will restrict the sale of e-cigarette flavors most popular with minors.

Companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days from when the guidance’s notice of availability is published, risk being subjected to enforcement action by FDA.

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes. HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

The FDA guidance appears to represent a softening. In September, the administration reportedly planned to ban all flavored e-cigarettes, but the policy released Jan. 2 excluded tobacco and menthol flavors. The guidance is expected to be published the week of Jan. 5, which means FDA could take action starting in February.

The guidance is a “free pass” for menthol, the “heavy favorite among African Americans for both cigarettes and e-cigarettes,” writes Alan Blum, director of The University of Alabama Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society.

“I say, add the FDA’s minimalistic action on e-cigarettes, then, to the catalogue of industry-influenced erosion of science under the Trump administration, such as weakening of water and air pollution regulations, increasing presidential input into hurricane forecasts, head-in-the-sand denial of climate change and global warming research results, and loosening of wetlands protections,” Blum wrote.

Blum’s … Continue reading FDA guidance restricts e-cigarette flavors, leaving tobacco and menthol on the market

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