Following through on previous announcements, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a ban on selling flavored e-cigarette products at traditional convenience stores. They will now only be allowed to be sold at age-restricted tobacco stores and online stores that use age-verification checks. The FDA could see carving out exceptions for convenience stores that have a completely separate, age-restricted section.
FDA's Ban Falls Short of Previously Touted Plans
This move falls short of the FDA's originally threatened sanction of outlawing the sale of all flavored e-cigarette products to all ages. Such a move, as it turns out, was beyond the FDA's scope of power without going through a lengthy legislation process and judicial approval. The FDA felt it needed an immediate ban, not one that would get caught up in at least two years of legislative red tape.
FDA Focusing on Eliminating Teen Smoking
The FDA is trying to keep its sights set on eradicating teenage smoking, which has been on the rise since the advent of flavored e-cigarettes. According to the FDA, there are over 3.5 million minors using e-cigarettes, and all have seemingly obtained these illegally, since it is already against the law to sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. "Almost all adult smokers started smoking when they were kids," Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA's commissioner, said in a statement. "Today, we significantly advance our efforts to combat youth access and appeal with proposals that firmly and directly address the core of the epidemic: flavors."
Up Next, Menthol
The FDA said that it plans to seek out bans on menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, though that could take years to create. The FDA recognizes that these two markets are popular with youths, as well as African-Americans, and would like to curtain their usage. But the agency also knows such a ban would require legislative and judicial action.