The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has doubled down—some may say tripled down—on electronic cigarettes and, more specifically, flavored e-cigs.
In a sweeping move to reinforce its public statements on preventing underage sales of electronic cigarettes and a move that may potentially affect and even ban product flavors, the FDA issued 1,300 warning letters and fines to more than 1,000 retailers as a result of a summerlong undercover operation at the store level, the agency announced Sept. 12.
Flavored nicotine products have long been in the FDA’s crosshairs, with the agency publicly expressing concerns about both the sweet flavors and packaging that resembles products such as candy, cookies or desserts.
“I believe certain flavors are one of the principal drivers of the youth appeal of these products,” said Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, in a statement this month. “While we remain committed to advancing policies that promote the potential of e-cigarettes to help adult smokers move away from combustible cigarettes, that work can’t come at the expense of kids.”
The warning letters and fines were part of a wider scope of actions and inferences that included inquiries with manufacturers and threats to rein in the prevalence of flavored products that potentially appeal to youth.
What follows is a point-by-point account of the FDA’s actions, announced through press releases and statements issued Sept. 12.
Illustration by CSP