More Meetings for FDA, E-Cig Makers?

Agency sits down with NATO, asks for more meetings with five manufacturers
Photograph: Shutterstock

LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- On Dec. 27, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb requested a follow-up meeting with five major e-cigarette manufacturers to discuss the plans they submitted to the FDA regarding steps to reduce underage access to and use of e-cigarettes. These five manufacturers market the Vuse, MarkTen, blu e-cigarettes, Logic and Juul brands of e-cigarettes.

Last September, Gottlieb requested that these five manufacturers submit plans within 60 days on how they would address use of e-cigarettes by minors. In response to the commissioner’s request, Altria Group Inc. reported that the company would remove its MarkTen Elite and Apex by MarkTen e-cigarettes from the market and stop selling all flavors except for menthol, tobacco and mint in its "cig-alike" products. Richmond, Va.-based Altria also indicated support for federal legislation to establish 21 as the minimum age to purchase tobacco products.

Juul Labs, San Francisco, announced that the company would stop selling all but tobacco, menthol and mint flavored e-cigarette pods for its Juul-branded vaping devices in more than 90,000 retail stores and enhance online authentication for sales. And London-based British American Tobacco, which sells the Vuse-branded device, outlined steps it would initiate to reduce youth access to e-cigarette products, including enhanced retailer compliance efforts and third-party verification for online sales.

This request for a follow-up meeting with manufacturers came after representatives of NATO, NACS, SIGMA and individual retailers met on Dec. 19 with Gottlieb, Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller and other FDA staff members to discuss the issues of youth access to and use of flavored e-cigarettes, as well as the FDA’s announcement to propose a rule prohibiting the use of menthol in cigarettes and cigars.

During this meeting, the retail attendees highlighted their respective training programs for employees and steps to ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws to prevent the sale of tobacco products to underage individuals. The role of “social sources” in youth access to e-cigarettes was also discussed, with an acknowledgement that many underage youths obtain e-cigarettes from an 18- or 19-year-old friend who buys and then distributes e-cigarettes to minors.

At this meeting, NATO also suggested that the FDA convene a working group of FDA staff and industry members to discuss and pursue other steps that can be taken to further reduce youth access to and use of e-cigarettes.

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