FDA Plans To Ban Flavored E Cigarettes In Convenience Stores

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced a proposal aimed at curtailing youth vaping that would ban some brick-and-mortar stores from selling flavored e-cigarettes.

Stores would be allowed to sell the products only if they can prevent minors from entering, or can create a separate area for the products that cannot be accessed by minors.

E-cigarettes typically heat a flavored nicotine solution into an inhalable vapor. Federal law bans their sale to those under 18, but 1 in 5 high school students report using e-cigarettes, according to the latest survey published last year.

The FDA’s proposal is a draft and will be followed by a 30-day comment period before it can become final. The soonest it could go into effect, if it advances, is in 60 days. It would apply to any physical store that sells flavored vapes, including gas stations, convenience stores and vape shops.

The proposal also aims to restrict online sales of flavored e-cigarettes by requiring retailers to use age-verification tools before allowing the sale to go through. Many companies, including market leader Juul of San Francisco, already have age-verification protocols to buy online.

Juul, which makes the most popular e-cigarette among teens, last fall took steps to get ahead of regulators’ crackdown, announcing it would stop selling most of its flavored nicotine “pods” in brick-and-mortar stores. The company continues to sell the flavors online with age-verification protocols.

“We are committed to reducing youth usage while preserving our opportunity to eliminate combustible cigarettes,” Juul said. “We support category-wide action including the responsible, restricted sale of flavored products and will review today’s draft guidance as we continue to work with FDA, state attorneys general, local municipalities and community organizations.”

Companies that don’t follow the requirements risk having their products pulled from the market, the FDA said.

Anti-smoking activists have questioned whether the new FDA restrictions will be enough to stop the teen vaping surge. The FDA has little authority over how stores display and sell vaping products. Instead, critics say, the agency is essentially telling companies to self-police.

“FDA continues to nibble around the edges, and that will not end the epidemic,” said Erika Sward of the American Lung Association, which has called on the FDA to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Catherine Ho is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: cho@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @Cat_Ho

Source : https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/FDA-restricts-sale-of-flavored-e-cigarettes-in-13685477.php

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