FDA Issues Partial Ban on E-Cigarette Flavors

January 7, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a ban on flavored e-cigarette pods, except for those that are menthol and tobacco flavored. Despite pressure for a comprehensive ban from the anti-smoking community, the FDA rule, as written, will affect a relatively small portion of the vaping industry. It will only apply to cartridge-based products, leaving larger, tank-style vapes exempt from the ban. Single use and disposable vapes, which are becoming increasingly popular among children, are also exempt.

The ban will allow all flavored e-cigarette products to apply for FDA review. Provided an e-cigarette manufacturer can prove its flavored products are not a threat to public health, and are an effective combustible tobacco cessation tool, its products may be allowed to re-enter the market.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has specific concerns that the policy does not prevent youth e-cigarette use. As the ban only affects pod products, thousands of kid-friendly e-liquids will continue to be widely available. The policy also fails to differentiate between menthol versus mint-flavored products.

In September, following the Administration’s announcement that an e-cigarette flavor ban was in development, ASCO joined a group of stakeholders on a letter to the White House applauding the initial announcement and urging the Administration to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market, including mint and menthol flavors. While the society does not feel this ban goes far enough in protecting youth and young adults, ASCO will continue to work with FDA, state and federal lawmakers, and other stakeholders on addressing the alarming uptick in youth e-cigarette use.

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