The Food and Drug Administration is banning most fruit and mint flavored nicotine vaping products in an effort to curb a surge in teen use, the agency said Thursday.
Under the new rule, which takes effect in 30 days, companies that do not stop the distribution the sweeter flavors that appeal to kids risk enforcement action, the FDA said. Companies are also at risk of regulatory action if their products target kids or if they fail to take “adequate measures” to prevent access to children. They’ll still be able to sell tobacco and menthol flavored pods.
“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 said in a statement Thursday.
“HHS is taking a comprehensive, aggressive approach to enforcing the law passed by Congress, under which no e-cigarettes are currently on the market legally,” he said.
The FDA is specifically banning cartridge-based nicotine pods like Juul, allowing vape shops to continue selling tank-based flavored nicotine liquids.
The FDA’s decision comes amid a rise in teen e-cigarette use and a deadly lung illness linked to vaping that has taken the lives of 55 people across 27 states. The Trump administration was expected this week to issue a ban on flavored e-cigarette pods and flavored liquid nicotine products.
Azar said Thursday that the FDA’s decision to permit the continued sale of tobacco and menthol flavors was due to them being “less appealing” to kids.
The ban will have a limited impact on vaping industry leader Juul, which, under intense scrutiny, has already halted the sale of its flavors in the U.S., excluding menthol, Virginia tobacco and classic tobacco. It will likely be a blow to Juul rival, NJOY, which looked to benefit from Juul’s flavor retreat with the sale its own blueberry flavors in stores.
–CNBC’s Lauren Hirsch contributed to this report.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.