Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)issued guidance that would prioritize enforcement on pod systems such as JUUL. The guidance 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.” This guidance was not the complete flavor ban that many had anticipated. However, this closed off a significant avenue of alternative nicotine products to adult vapers who may have been using this method to transition to vaping.
Flavored pods make up a significant amount of the vape product market. Companies like JUUL use flavored pods to package vape products. This eliminates the need to buy open-fill systems and eLiquids. One of the main issues that caused panic in the industry was JUUL’s questionable advertising and marketing tactics. This contributed significantly to underage vaping even though adults also use flavored pods. Flavored pods, like all other vape products, are intended for adults over the age of 21.
The recent raising of the age to buy tobacco and vape products to 21 nationwide is another measure taken to keep vaping products out of the hands of minors. However, this flavor pod guidance is just enforcement of a previous ruling on August 8, 2016, when all e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) were re-classified as tobacco products. This means that vaping products fell under the premarket authorization requirements as laid out in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.
The latest guidance is merely a notification of enforcement of the previous guidance. The way it was worded before was unclear and actually led some to believe that this was a new regulation. The lack of action by the FDA on these products has led to some unsettlement among vapers and the industry itself. This latest guidance makes it more clear which products are being targeted. “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.”
This is new FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn’s first action on vaping since becoming FDA commissioner. Is this a promise to study the “evidence and science” of vaping as he promised to do so during his confirmation hearings? We don’t exactly know and may have to wait for the coming months to find out if he takes even further action. We here at eLiquid.com are here to continue to inform vapers about the actions that are being taken by various legislative and regulatory bodies. What we predict is that while this may close off a legitimate avenue of vaping for adult vapers, we also recognize that this action could prevent more severe enforcement down the road while preserving adult vapers’ freedoms.
You can always take action and continue to advocate for your right to vape. There may be more enforcement actions down the line. Remember to tell your elected officials that you vape and you vote.
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