FDA’s Crackdown on Illegal Sales of Popular Flavored E-cigarettes Is Significant Step to Protect Kids
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids | Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids | May 31, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FDA today has taken one of its most significant enforcement actions to date to protect our nation’s kids from the sale of illegal and unauthorized flavored e-cigarette products that have fueled a youth nicotine addiction crisis. The FDA announced that it has issued warning letters to 30 retailers, including one distributor, for illegally selling unauthorized e-cigarette products, the result of a “nationwide blitz” the agency said it has conducted to crack down on the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes that are popular with youth. The unauthorized products include Puff and Hyde brand disposable e-cigarettes, which were two of the most commonly reported brands used by youth e-cigarette users in 2022.
Today’s announcement continues recent, positive actions the FDA has taken to protect kids from flavored e-cigarettes, including its continued denial of marketing applications for flavored e-cigarettes and enforcement actions against manufacturers and importers of certain flavored e-cigarette products. These actions represent substantial progress toward eliminating the flavored e-cigarettes that attract and are widely used by kids. Importantly, the FDA has repeatedly recognized the central role that flavored products, including menthol-flavored products, play in driving youth e-cigarette use.
Youth e-cigarette use remains a serious public health problem in the United States. The 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that over 2.5 million U.S. kids still use e-cigarettes and 46% of high school e-cigarette users report frequent or daily use, clear evidence that they are becoming addicted to the high-nicotine products now dominating the market. Among youth e-cigarette users, 85% report that they use flavored products.
To truly end this public health crisis, the FDA must reject marketing applications for all flavored e-cigarettes, including products like Reynolds American’s Vuse Alto that have significant market share and are popular with kids. The FDA must also continue to enforce these decisions and crack down on the sale of illegal and unauthorized products.