If you love vaping, you better stock up on your favorite flavor because the FDA banned vape flavors other than tobacco and menthol.
On Thursday, the US Food and Drug Administration said it finalized “enforcement policy on unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes that appeal to children.”
That means all your favorite flavors such as mango, bubblegum, mint, or cucumber will be off the market in the next month.
“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was quoted as saying in the FDA announcement.
“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,” he added.
Flavored vape pods were never actually approved by the FDA and the agency considers all vape and e-liquid products on the market “illegally marketed” and “subject to enforcement.”
Juul actually already pulled all of its fruity flavors in October 2019 and stopped selling mint flavors a month later. All other companies now have 30 days to comply with the new policy and will risk FDA “enforcement actions” if they continue selling banned flavors.
Heads of several major public health organizations said they were “disappointed” with the new regulations because they don’t actually block children and teenagers from accessing vape products.
“There is an illusion out there that vape shops don’t allow people of a certain age into them,” Matthew Meyers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a media call.
The FDA said it won’t prioritize enforcement policies for vape products like tanks and e-liquids sold in bottles. Public health organizations worry that teenagers will simply move on to purchasing vape tanks or using menthol flavors.
“More kids who purchase e-cigarettes today purchase them from vape shops and they have the worst track record for selling to underage youth. There’s no reason to think that’s going to change.”
The FDA stressed that its enforcement priorities are not a “ban” on flavored or cartridge-based vape products. As long as a manufacturer can fulfill the agency’s requirements they can still be allowed to produce and sell their products.
In any case, the new regulations will take the majority of products off the market and likely leave a lot of shady and probably fake Chinese brands behind.
So, if you need to get your flavored nicotine fix, be careful about what you buy. The last thing we need is another vape crisis.