FDA vs. Flavored E-Liquid and New 2021 Deadline for FlavorsOn March 7, 2019
Although Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has resigned from his position, he left one last proposal that puts the vaping industry at risk. As of March 2019, Gottlieb proposed a ban on all flavored vape products except for tobacco, menthol, and mint. Gottlieb blamed flavors like bubble gum, mango, and creme for fueling the “epidemic” levels of teen use.
“We think flavored products represent greater risk to youth appeal, so when we’re looking at the public health value and redeeming qualities of products, we generally feel flavors have more to prove at this point,” Gottlieb said in a previous interview. “They’re the ones driving youth use so we want to do a proper evaluation through our assessment process.”
If you’re a vaper, you already know how essential flavors are in vaping. It is a big reason why countless smokers have switched to vaping. Curbing teen use is understandable, but a complete ban on flavors is unreasonable. If finalized, this proposal could definitely remove flavored vape juice from the USA market.
Gottlieb has also previously stated that the FDA could even specify that popular pod-based products can be sold only if they receive FDA clearance. His resignation as the FDA commissioner should be watched closely with news of a comparable official clearly siding with a specific company. Former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley was also strongly opposed to vaping. But as of April 2019, Coakley has joined JUUL government affairs team.
As we know, the vaping industry is built on the backs of small businesses. Government officials joining the biggest companies like JUUL, of which Altria is a large stakeholder, is only going to disrupt small businesses. Although the most popular online vape stores have the most rigorous age verification requirements, JUUL chooses to sell only to physical stores. Physical stores are prone to selling to minors. So Coakley joining a company like JUUL incredibly contradicts her stance against teen vaping. If former FDA commissioner Gottlieb joins a big company like JUUL, we can only expect a takedown of small vape businesses and manufacturers.
Furthermore, part of Gottlieb’s final proposal is moving the application deadline for most flavored e-cigarettes by one year, to August 8, 2021. Combined with his relationship with 5 big business e-cigarette companies Juul, British American Tobacco’s Vuse, Altria’s MarkTen, Imperial Brands’ Blu E-cigs and Japan Tobacco’s Logic, this could definitely impact vaping as we know it. This could possibly mean the elimination of small business vape juice manufacturers in place of big business brands only. Your favorite flavors could possibly be gone forever.
“We’re still trying to do a balancing act where we preserve the opportunity for adults,” Gottlieb has said. “We still recognize the potential benefits for currently addicted adult smokers, but that can’t come at the expense of teen use we’re now experiencing.” Sure, Gottlieb. We’ll have to see where you go from here.