BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday issued a ban on most fruity and mint-flavored e-cigarettes to curb a surge in teen use. The FDA said the rule would take effect in 30 days and could take enforcement action against companies that do not comply with the ban. There is also a risk of regulatory measures if corporate products are marketed to young people or if “appropriate measures” are not taken to prevent young people from being exposed to e-cigarettes.
The FDA says companies can still sell tobacco and menthol-flavored products that help adults quit smoking.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Thursday that the agency is taking a comprehensive and proactive approach to enforcing a law passed by Congress that currently does not have legal e-cigarettes on the market.
The FDA explicitly bans e-cigarettes like Juul, allowing stores to continue selling bottled flavored nicotine.
Azhar said Thursday that the FDA’s decision to allow continued sales of tobacco and menthol-flavored products was due to their “less attractiveness” to teenagers.
Mint and menthol are the second most popular e-cigarette flavors among high school teens after fruity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey. The vast majority of e-cigarette sales in 2019 will be fruity.
But some public health experts worry that once fruit-flavored e-cigarettes disappear from the market, teenagers may end up turning to menthol flavors.
The ban will have a limited impact on Juul. Under intense scrutiny, Juul has stopped selling flavored e-cigarettes in the United States in addition to menthol, Virginia tobacco and classic tobacco flavors.