INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There is now a restriction on the sale and distribution of certain flavors of e-cigarette products.
The FDA released the policy on Thursday as the country sees epidemic levels of e-cigarette use among young adults.
The agency plans to prioritize enforcement against any flavored, cartridge-based product, other than a tobacco or menthol-flavored product. Manufacturers will have 30 days to stop making and selling these flavors.
The policy does not prioritize enforcement against other vaping products in the same way as flavored pods.
“By prioritizing enforcement against the products that are most widely used by children, our action today seeks to strike the right public health balance by maintaining e-cigarettes as a potential off-ramp for adults using combustible tobacco while ensuring these products don’t provide an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for our youth,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “We will not stand idly by as this crisis among America’s youth grows and evolves, and we will continue monitoring the situation and take further actions as necessary.”
School officials across central Indiana are seeing an uptick in vaping on their campuses. A national survey last year on e-cigarette use shows that more than 5 million U.S. middle and high school students are current e-cigarette users (having used within the last 30 days) – with a majority reporting cartridge-based products as their usual brand.
Breathe Easy Hamilton County said kids get hooked on these products because of the flavors. The organization thinks the FDA’s restrictions should go even further.
“Menthol actually makes it really hard for adults to quit smoking,” said Stacy London, the program director.
The vaping industry was a booming business for years but sales took a hit last summer, according to Shadi Khoury who owns Indy E-Cigs.
He operates 10 vape stores in Indianapolis. One of his warehouses is filled with hundreds of boxes of vaping products. Khoury said it will take time before he knows if the restriction will impact his business.
“Pod systems have not been our number one revenue generator,” he said. “As a matter of fact, open tank systems have what we have built this company on.”