The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued guidance that would effectively place pod systems under the enforcement spotlight. The release states, “Under this policy, companies that do not cease the manufacture, distribution, and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions.” While it is not a complete flavor ban like many have feared, this regulation may close off an avenue of alternative nicotine products to vapers who have reported success with flavors.
Flavored pods are quite a popular method of vaping—companies like JUUL use flavored pods to package a vape product without the need to buy an open-fill system and eJuice. However, JUUL has been accused of questionable advertising and marketing efforts which have contributed to minors accessing vape products that are intended for adults over 21 only.
With the recent change in the law requiring anyone to be 21 or over when buying vape products nationwide, this is just enforcement of a previous ruling on August 8, 2016, when all e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) became classified as tobacco products and thus subject to the premarket authorization requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.
The latest guidance revolved around enforcement prioritization of previously issued guidance. However, the way it was worded could be easily confusing to the average vaper, who may not be completely aware of the ins and outs of FDA regulations. Thankfully, the FDA did clarify this in its latest guidance, saying, “By not prioritizing enforcement against other flavored ENDS products in the same way as flavored cartridge-based ENDS products, the FDA has attempted to balance the public health concerns related to youth use of ENDS products with considerations regarding addicted adult cigarette smokers who may try to use ENDS products to transition away from combustible tobacco products.”
The FDA wanted to strike a middle ground between adult vapers who are using flavors to transition away from traditional tobacco products while keeping flavors away from those under the age of 21. This may also be part of what current FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn meant about looking at the “science and evidence” of vaping as well as his first action regarding vaping. However, not many people may know what the implications of prioritization of enforcement are and that is what we are here to clear up. While this may take away an avenue of vaping for adults, it could prevent more severe enforcement actions down the line.
You can always take action and continue to advocate for your right to vape. We may see more enforcement actions in the coming months, and that is why you must continue to take action. Remember to tell your elected officials that you vape and you vote.
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