FDA expected to impose restrictions on e-cigarettes

The ban means only tobacco mint and menthol flavors can be sold in convenience stores and gas stations

ASSOCIATED PRESS The ban means only tobacco mint and menthol flavors can be sold in convenience stores and gas stations

It's part of the FDA's efforts to reduce teens' use of flavored e-cigarettes. A senior agency official said details of the plan would be announced next week, and that menthol and mint flavors would be exempt from the restrictions.

A spokesman for the Democratic governor told The Wall Street Journal his administration would soon republish regulations banning the sale or possession of flavored e-cigarettes.

In a recent interview that predated this plan, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency's commissioner, said he considered youth vaping a pernicious public health problem.

Gottlieb's steps will nearly certainly be denounced as too aggressive by the industry and too weak by public health groups and Democratic lawmakers, whose election victory will likely embolden them in efforts to curb youths' use of e-cigarettes. But health advocates point to the packaging and youth appeal of a variety of flavors, including chicken and waffles, rocket Popsicle and unicorn milk as well as fruity tastes like mango. They have warned making it harder for adults to buy e-cigarettes - or depriving them of flavored products - will be detrimental. But, he also said parents should consider their children's use of e-cigarettes a serious health threat.

With the growing use in e-cigarettes comes the growing concern over what the nicotine vapor can do to developing teenage brains.

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The letters suggest that FDA might ban flavored e-liquids if insufficient steps to curb youth use are not taken. He set a 60-day deadline for the major companies to prove they could keep their devices away from minors, and that timetable ends this weekend. He said that could easily take another 20 years before they find out the type of impact it is having on teens. The San Francisco-based company is backed by high-profile investors, including Tiger Global Management and Tao Capital Partners.

Representatives from Altria, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands and Japan Tobacco did not respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

As alternatives surge, the US adult smoking rate plunged to 14 per cent in 2017, the lowest measure on record and down 67 per cent from 1965, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The restrictions will apply only to cartridge-style devices, such as a popular product from startup Juul Labs Inc., according to the official.

E-cigarette makers argue the devices help adult smokers give up cigarettes - potentially saving them from related illnesses - by giving a nicotine fix without the smoke and smell of combustible cigarettes.

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