FDA Finalizes E-Cig Enforcement Policy

FDA finalizes enforcement policy for certain e-cigarette products

(RxWiki News) E-cigarettes and vaping continue to make news headlines.

In September 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its plan to finalize a policy to better regulate non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products. According to the FDA, this policy was in response to the "epidemic" of e-cig use in US children and adolescents.

Now, the FDA is finalizing an enforcement policy against certain flavored e-cig products — especially products that are not authorized and those that appeal to children.

As part of this enforcement, the FDA is focusing on the following:

  • All flavored, cartridge-based e-cigs (other than tobacco or menthol flavors)
  • Products for which the manufacturer has not done what is necessary to prevent minors’ access
  • Products that target minors or those that promote the use of e-cigs to minors (such as products with labels that resemble kid-friendly foods and drinks like juice boxes or cereal)

The FDA's new policy is not a “ban” on flavored or cartridge-based e-cigs, the FDA noted. The FDA said it was currently reviewing applications for flavored e-cigs to be sold on the market.

This policy does not include tobacco or menthol flavors, however.

The FDA said it will take action against companies that do not stop making, distributing and selling unauthorized flavored e-cigs (cartridge-based) within 30 days.

Cartridge-based e-cigs are both easy to use and easy to hide, making them appealing to children, according to the FDA. Cartridge-based products include a cartridge, or pod, that holds liquid. This liquid is aerosolized when the product is used.

"By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a press release.

According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) results, more than 5 million middle and high school students across the US use e-cigs. (This means using an e-cigarette within the last 30 days.) The majority of these students said a cartridge-based product was their usual brand.

According to other data, kids appeared to be attracted to flavors like fruit and mint more so than tobacco or menthol e-cig flavors.

Speak to your health care provider if you have any questions about keeping your teen healthy.

Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS