The United States Set To Ban Flavored Vapor Pods
The latest FDA rules ban all flavored vapor pods, excluding menthol and tobacco, within 30 days.
The United States vapor industry faced its most turbulent year to date in 2019. From a record series of state and municipal bans to an entire outbreak of lung injuries being misattributed to nicotine vapes, the US vaping industry has faced intense regulatory crackdown and public scrutiny over the last 12 months.
Unfortunately, things are not looking up in the new decade for the vapor industry, with the Food and Drug Administration announcing a ban on most flavored vapor pods, effective within 30 days. Under the new policy, companies who fail to cease manufacturing, distributing, and selling unauthorized flavors of vapor cartridges after 30 days risk facing enforcement action.
The agency has claimed the new policy was enacted amid epidemic levels of youth e-cigarette use. The new regulations were intended to restrict the sale of flavors that may appeal to minors. Public health experts have cautioned against such flavor bans, warning that this type of restriction may deter adult smokers from using vaping to quit, and even could turn those who had quit back to smoking.
The move comes months ahead of another FDA policy requiring all vaping products to file an authorization application with the agency by May 12th in order to continue marketing their products. Companies who fail to file an application by the deadline will also risk facing enforcement action.
Federal Flavor Ban
On January 2nd, the Food and Drug Administration announced the enactment of a federal flavor ban on vapor pods effective within 30 days. Under the new policy, companies who manufacture, distribute, or sell unauthorized flavored vapor cartridges after the ban is active risk agency enforcement action. Luckily for many vapers and vape shops, this new ban exempts e-liquids sold in bottles for refillable vaporizers.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has stated the new enforcement policy was aimed at preventing youth vaping by restricting access to flavors that may appeal to them. “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.” the Secretary said in a statement.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, noted the new policy as a “partial victory” for the industry, allowing thousands of small mom-and-pop vape shops to continue operation. He does, however, warn that this temporary exemption for e-liquids and refillable systems will still require federal action ahead of the May 12th deadline for vapor companies to register their products with the FDA. Conley believes if the administration doesn’t step in and take action, it may become responsible for thousands of small businesses forced to shutter throughout the country.
The new policy comes weeks after President Trump signed into law a federal increase of the minimum age to purchase vapor products from 18 to 21. Small vape shops throughout the country are concerned about how this new wave of regulations is going to impact them over the coming year and succeeding decade.
Truth About Nicotine Vaping
Flavor bans have been long decried by public health experts for potentially deterring current smokers from considering vaping as a viable option for cessation, as well as potentially turning those who had quit using vaping back to combustible cigarettes. Research from Yale University found that flavor bans prevent and deter adults from quitting, as well as result in an increased choice of combustible cigarettes, the far more harmful alternative.
Current data indicates that vaping is remarkably effective in aiding smoking cessation. In fact, research from the University of Louisville concluded that vaping was the most effective form of smoking cessation, even more than prescription options such as Chantix.
In addition, vaping continues to be demonstrated as significantly less harmful than smoking. According to landmark research from Public Health England, the agency found that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, a figure they have repeatedly defended.
Furthermore, one of America’s leading academic bodies found there was little to no risk of harm from long-term vaping. According to research from the National Academy of Sciences, vaping is not only less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects associated with its long-term usage.
The brand new decade is not off to the greatest of starts for the still-fledgling vaping industry. Between an uncertain regulatory landscape and general public sentiments slowly turning against vaping, the industry faces mounting hurdles on the horizon.
There is some vital compromise in the new FDA policy by only impacting closed-system cartridges such as Juul or Vuse pods, while still allowing the sale of menthol and tobacco pods. However, the full economic impact of a nationwide ban on products that typically make up over 80% of vape shop sales has yet to be determined. Many retailers have already faced intense pressure, with some forced to shutter, following similar bans on the state and local level.
Members of the vaping industry and community must remain committed to a sustained campaign of informative public discourse and dedicated civic engagement. The only way to secure the future of the industry is by helping to shift the regulatory landscape and public opinion surrounding it gradually.
What are your thoughts and feelings regarding the United States’ federal flavor ban? How do you believe this new policy will impact vaping as a whole? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!
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