FDA to Severely Restrict Sales of Many Vaping Products

Commissioner Scott Gottlieb caves to pressure campaign; makes it harder for adult smokers to quit.


WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is scheduled to make a speech regarding the future of tobacco and nicotine regulation in the United States.  According to leaks provided to the Washington Post and other outlets last week, Commissioner Gottlieb is expected to announce plans for the FDA Center for Tobacco Products to:

  • Restrict the sale of closed system e-cigarettes like JUUL and blu in flavors other than tobacco, mint, and menthol to vape shops (or other adult-only environments), while allowing flavored e-liquids to continue to be sold in all retail environments.
  • Issue guidelines for online sales of vaping products.
    • Begin the process of banning the sale of cigarettes and possibly e-cigarettes in menthol flavor.

 photo 42525469_10101844696789956_6687312041771794432_n.jpg

Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association — a nonprofit that advocates for sensible regulatory policies towards vaping products with the aim of maximizing the number of adult smokers who switch to vaping — offered the following comments in the lead-up to Commissioner Gottlieb’s announcement:

On new restrictions on the sale of closed system vaping products:

“No youth should vape and there is room for more rigorous enforcement to ensure youth are not accessing these products. However, this move by Commissioner Gottlieb will only serve to make it harder for adult smokers to switch to a far less harmful alternative. Not every town has a vape shop, meaning that for many adults, it will be much easier to pick up a pack of Marlboros or Camels — or even an unrestricted cherry-flavored cigar — at a local convenience store than it will be to make the switch to a vaping product that can truly help smokers break their desire for cigarettes.
“While it is nice to see Commissioner Gottlieb recognize that flavored e-liquid products are not a significant issue with youth, the sad fact remains that he has done nothing in his tenure as FDA Commissioner to push for reasonable regulatory reforms on this sector of the industry. Without reform, the small- and medium-sized American businesses that produce these e-liquid products will be decimated by inordinately expensive application requirements that only large tobacco companies and perhaps JUUL are prepared to face. Simply put, the very same e-liquid products that Commissioner Gottlieb acknowledges are making a difference in the lives of adult smokers currently have no path to gain approval by the agency.
“Allowing convenience stores to continue selling mint and menthol pods is hardly a compromise worthy of applause. In the coming days or weeks, adult ex-smokers will find themselves unable to easily purchase products that have helped them become smoke-free. Tragically, some ex-smokers will likely end up relapsing back to cigarettes because of this reckless policy shift. Congratulations, Commissioner Gottlieb.”
On Internet sales:
“The vast majority of online sellers of vaping products use third-party age verification systems that appear to have withstood FDA compliance checks. Any retailer not using such a system should be put out of business, including sellers on third-party websites like eBay and Amazon.”
“Notably, the FDA has never released a list of Internet retailers that have refused to sell to minors in sting operations. Meanwhile, the FDA has documented tens of thousands of compliance checks on traditional retail stores. The FDA’s continual failure to release data on their Internet operations is worthy of questioning.”
On menthol e-cigarette bans:

“Commissioner Gottlieb has no rational justification for proposing this ban. While menthol in cigarettes has been documented as reducing the harsh taste of burning tobacco, the complete absence of tobacco leaf makes this argument nonsensical when applied to vaping products. If the FDA is going to ban menthol cigarettes, it should be working to ensure that satisfying alternatives are available for the adult smokers impacted by this ban, not prohibiting such products from remaining on the market.”

[Note: Like all early reporting on Commissioner Gottlieb’s forthcoming announcement, the menthol ban being extended to e-cigarettes has NOT been confirmed.]

On JUUL’s ‘voluntary’ plan to restrict sales of their flavored pods:
“Saying we are disappointed in JUUL’s decision to fold on flavors would imply that we actually thought they had a backbone and would fight for their adult customers.”
“With massive private investments and big prospects for international expansion, JUUL should not have an issue surviving this hit to their revenue. That does not mean this was a smart move though. Waving the white flag of surrender in their home market in a desperate attempt to win over their enemies will only serve to set a terrible precedent that will come back to haunt them as they bring JUUL to new countries.”
These comments are preliminary and may be changed if the content of Commissioner Gottlieb’s announcement differs from the agency’s leaks to the media.

 photo 14680600_10153766777976249_8873161743145297457_n.jpgAbout the American Vaping Association The American Vaping Association is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and sensible regulation of vapor products, otherwise known as electronic cigarettes, with the goal of maximizing the number of adult smokers who use these products to quit smoking. The AVA was founded by Gregory Conley, a consumer and industry advocate with a long track record of advocating for vapor products dating back to 2010.

We are dedicated to educating the public and government officials about public health benefits offered by vapor products, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine or nicotine-free solution and create an inhalable vapor.  The AVA is not a trade group and does not speak for any particular businesses, including our industry sponsors.

You can learn more about AVA and vaping by visiting the AVA website. You can also find us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  You can also reach out to Greg Conely at Contact: Gregory Conley
Tel: 609-947-8059
Email: gconley@vaping.org


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