Six e-cigarette brands could be pulled from US shelves amid the Biden government’s crackdown on the devices.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Department of Justice, has filed suit against six e-cigarette companies: E-Cig Crib in Minnesota, Soul Vapor LLC in West Virginia, Super Vape’z LLC in Washington, Vapor Craft LLC in Georgia, Lucky’s Vape & Smoke Shop in Kansas and Butt Out in Arizona.
The agencies behind the lawsuits argued that all stores ignored previous warnings for failing to file the required applications to sell their products in the U.S. market.
Current rules require vape manufacturers to complete strict pre-market applications to legally sell in the US.
These are in part to ensure that the companies are not claiming to make a device that is a safe smoking alternative.
“We won’t stand by if manufacturers repeatedly break the law, especially after they’ve been given multiple opportunities to comply,” said Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
The requested bans, if granted, would force the companies to permanently stop manufacturing, selling and distributing their products.
The Biden administration is tackling six different e-cigarette makers for illegally marketing their products, despite numerous warnings from federal regulators.
The government’s request for a ban on the six companies marks the federal government’s latest step to make a dent in e-cigarette use, which has exploded among young people in recent years.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VAPE
What are e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are devices that allow you to inhale nicotine in a vapor instead of smoking it.
They do not burn tobacco and produce no tar or carbon monoxide – two of the most harmful components of tobacco smoke.
The devices work by heating liquid containing nicotine and flavorings.
They can come as vape pens – which are shaped like a pen or small tube with a tank to store e-liquid and batteries – or pod systems that are rechargeable and often in the form of USB sticks.
Are they dangerous?
E-cigarettes are not without risk, but they are believed to be less harmful than smoking.
However, the liquid and vapor contain harmful chemicals that are also found in traditional cigarettes, but in much lower levels.
These chemicals have been linked to pneumonia, chronic cough, shortness of breath and lung disease.
Some chronic users have developed obstructions in their lung tracts causing ‘asthma-like’ symptoms.
There are also known cases of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire.
What has the FDA done to curb vaping use?
The FDA has banned the sale of flavored nicotine products in the US unless a company has received their express approval.
All products sold by e-cigarette giant Juul had to be withdrawn from the market in June under these new rules
It found that there was insufficient evidence to confirm that its products do not harm public health.
The FDA then suspended its decision in July as it conducts an additional review of the company’s products.
Other popular brands, such as Puff Bar, have also received warnings from regulators about the sale of flavored appliances.
The big players like Juul and Puff Bar are not involved in the administration’s request for permanent bans — but rather have issued FDA warnings.
The popular devices accused of snagging teens thanks to slick marketing will remain on store shelves, although fruit and mint flavors that appeal to children have been banned.
Tuesday’s move marks the administration’s latest effort to restrict the sale and distribution of high-risk nicotine vapes.
However, it should not be a dent in the staggering number of teenagers who have become dependent on the electronic devices.
“These cases are an important step in stopping the illegal sale of unauthorized electronic nicotine delivery system products,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, chief of the Department of Justice’s civil division.
Mr Boynton added: “The Justice Department will continue to work closely with the FDA to stop the distribution of illegal, unauthorized tobacco products.”
In 2022, at least 2.5 million American children were addicted to e-cigarettes, a jump of 500,000 or 24 percent from 2021. according to to federal tracking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this month that high-strength disposable devices such as Elf bars were the most commonly used type of device (55 percent).
Overall, an estimated 14 percent of high school students and three percent of high school students used the devices regularly.
The CDC’s findings represent the first annual increase in e-cigarette use among U.S. youth since 2019. Just over two million reported uses in 2021.
The vast majority of children — 85 percent — had used flavored e-cigarettes that federal regulators have cracked down on in recent years over concerns that they are purposely selling themselves to children.
The FDA has traditionally been accused of allowing the normal business of the vaping industry to continue without regulatory oversight.
Under the former Trump administration, the FDA began cracking down on the sale of flavored nicotine e-liquids made by major companies like Juul.
Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb focused much of his tenure with the Trump administration on reducing teen e-cigarette use.
Led by Dr. Gottlieb has put the FDA on new barriers to the sale of flavored e-liquids and cigarettes to teens, removed flavors that appeal to kids and tightened the rules on vaping companies’ marketing tactics.
The agency has only had jurisdiction over the vaping market since 2016 and has expanded its oversight of combustible tobacco to include electronic nicotine delivery systems, including Juul products.