U.S. cracks down on e-cigarettes and cigars, bans sales to minors

admin   •   May 8, 2016   •   2951

Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

Jerred Marsh (R) samples flavored vape juice from Nancy Reyes at the Vape Summit 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada May 2, 2015. REUTERS/David Becker/File Photo

The U.S. government on Thursday took wide-ranging steps to crack down for the first time on e-cigarettes and cigars, growing in popularity among teens, and banned sales to anyone under age 18 in hopes of sparing a new generation from nicotine addiction.

The Food and Drug Administration’s action brought regulation of e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco in line with existing rules for cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. The new rules take effect in 90 days.

The rules promise to have a major impact on the $3.4 billion e-cigarette industry that has flourished in the absence of federal regulation, making the nicotine-delivery devices the most commonly used tobacco products for U.S. youngsters.

The FDA said it will require companies to submit e-cigarettes and other newer tobacco products for government approval, provide it with a list of their ingredients and place health warnings on packages and in advertisements.

Health advocacy groups hailed the move. Industry officials said the regulations could hurt smaller companies and cripple a their job-creating business due to the expense of the regulatory process. Wall Street analysts expect the regulations to herald a new wave of consolidation led by big tobacco companies.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporize a fluid typically including nicotine and a flavor component. Using them is called “vaping.”

The FDA will require age verification by photo identification, ban sales from vending machines except in adults-only locations and stop the distribution of free product samples.

The new regulations had been highly anticipated after the agency issued a proposed rule two years ago on how to oversee the e-cigarette industry and the other products.

“Millions of kids are being introduced to nicotine every year, a new generation hooked on a highly addictive chemical,” U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell told reporters, calling the rules a first step toward breaking the cycle of addiction.

Burwell said health officials still do not have the scientific evidence showing e-cigarettes can help smokers quit, as the industry asserts, and avoid the known ills of tobacco.

The e-cigarette vapor industry, which includes e-cigarettes, vapors, personal vaporizers and tanks, is expected to have about $4.1 billion in sales in 2016, Wells Fargo estimated in a recent research note.

“These new regulations create an enormously cost-prohibitive regulatory process for manufacturers to market their products to adult smokers and vapers,” said Cynthia Cabrera, president of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, representing the e-cigarette industry.

Three million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2015, compared with 2.46 million in 2014, according to the most recent federal data.

A University of Southern California study of high school students last year found that those who used e-cigarettes were more than twice as likely to also smoke traditional cigarettes. While some researchers believe e-cigarettes pose lower cancer risk because they do not burn tobacco, other researchers view e-cigarette vapor as potentially harmful because of chemicals released during the burning process.

“This is a real epidemic and banning the sales of these products to minors, much like cigarettes, is a critical step to protecting their health now and into the future,” said Democratic U.S. Representative Lois Capps of California.

Reynolds American Inc(RAI.N), Imperial Brands Plc (IMB.L) and Altria Group Inc (MO.N) are among the largest makers of e-cigarettes.

Altria, which makes Marlboro cigarettes and e-cigarettes, said it was concerned the regulations reached back to 2007 to determine which products to review, spokesman David Sutton said. Reynolds, which sells Newport and traditional cigarettes as well as Vuse e-cigarettes, will discuss with the FDA how to establish a reasonable structure for review and approval, spokesman David Howard said.

CONTROVERSY OVER FLAVORS

Public health advocates also have urged the FDA to ban the use of flavored nicotine liquid in e-cigarette and personal vaporizers. They contend the flavors, which can range from bacon to bubble gum, lure youngsters into taking up vaping.

FDA officials said they would consider future regulation on flavors based on further study of vaping’s potential risks and benefits. The FDA did ban flavors in cigars.

The agency said as more scientific data emerges on potential dangers from e-cigarette vapor, it will consider restricting advertising of the products.

In 2009, Congress allowed the FDA to extend its oversight to all tobacco products. The agency began looking at e-cigarettes, which were quickly gaining traction in the U.S. market.

Cigars had previously not been regulated by the FDA. Cigar makers had lobbied for their more expensive, typically hand-rolled products to be excluded from such oversight.

The FDA will review products introduced after Feb. 15, 2007, but will give manufacturers of e-cigarettes and these other products up to two years to submit applications. E-cigarette makers can continue to sell those products while the review is pending.

Agency officials expect that most products on the market will require its review, a costly prospect for the many smaller manufacturers of vaping devices.

“The winners are the large tobacco manufacturers, primarily Altria (MO.N) and Reynolds (American) (RAI.N), which have the experience and financial wherewithal” to deal with FDA processes, Morningstar equity analyst Adam Fleck said. “The net result is a very fragmented e-cigarette market is likely to be consolidated.”

The cigar market is expected to grow to more than $8.9 billion in 2019, up from $7.4 billion in 2009, according to Euromonitor. It is dominated by Swisher International, Altria and Imperial, which combined in 2014 sold about half of the cigars in the United States, according to Euromonitor.

Companies will be allowed to continue marketing their products while the FDA conducts its reviews, which could take 12 months after submission.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer, Jilian Mincer and Bill Berkrot in New York and Clarece Polke and Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Will Dunham)

US bans fruit, mint vaping cartridges to curb youth use

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

Washington – The United States Food and Drug Administration on Thursday banned the sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes, including fruit and mint, in an attempt to reduce their use among children and youth.

The decision, in which companies have 30 days to cease manufacture, distribution and sales, aims to reduce the “troubling epidemic” among youth, although for some sectors it is seen as a step back from the original plan of the President Donald Trump administration to ban all flavors.

“The United States has never seen an epidemic of substance use arise as quickly as our current epidemic of youth use of e-cigarettes,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in the FDA statement.

On September 11 last year, Azar announced that the Trump administration planned to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes except tobacco after the first deaths linked to their use were made public.

At that time, Trump, in statements from the Oval Office with Azar and other officials, said that vaping is a problem that especially affects “innocent children.”

In October, Juul, the largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes in the US, announced it was suspending sales of most of its flavors in the country ahead of the ban, although it anticipated that it would continue to manufacture tobacco and menthol flavors.

The same month, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was considering allowing the sale of some flavors so as not to put at risk the re-election of Trump, whose campaign team has warned of the electoral impact that the plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes would have amid possible job losses and voter backlash.

The report said Trump’s campaign chief Brad Parscale warned that the plan to reduce vaping among young people could hurt Trump in the 2020 election.

Groups working in the industry also created a pushback campaign called #IvapeIVote and #WeVapeWeVote.

In its statement, the FDA cited federal survey data to show that young people are particularly attracted to flavors such as fruit and mint, more so than to tobacco or menthol.

According to local media, 55 people have died across 27 states due to a lung illness linked to vaping. EFE-EPA

lb/tw

Duterte orders ban on vapes, EO to follow

Marje Pelayo   •   November 20, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a ban on sale, importation and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vapes.

Furthermore, the Chief Executive ordered law enforcement agencies to arrest anyone who would be caught vaping in all public places across the country.

The President is convinced that vaping poses more harm to people than smoking ordinary cigarettes.

“Vaping is also dangerous and I am banning it, and if you are smoking now, you will be arrested,” he announced during the press briefing on Tuesday (November 19) in Malacañang.

“I am banning the importation. Customs, you listen to it. I’m banning it altogether,” he added.

The President said he will issue an executive order to formalize his directive.

The Chief Executive’s announcement came after a recent report of the first e-cigarette vaping-associated lung injury (e-VALI) in the country.

“I have that urgent power to do it, so I’m ordering it,” he said.

“The EO will follow. I’m banning it because it’s contrary to public safety,” the President concluded. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

California sues Juul, largest manufacturer of e-cigarettes

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2019

A sign advertises Juul pods, used for vaping in e-cigarettes, outside of a store in New York, New York, USA, 13 September 2019. The United States’ Food and Drug Administration announced this week a developing plan that is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and nicotine pods. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

San Francisco – The state of California on Monday filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc., the largest US manufacturer of e-cigarettes, alleging that the firm targeted young people and teenagers with its advertising despite the fact that sales of its products are prohibited to people under age 21.

“We’ve worked too hard, committed our hard-earned money for too long combating harmful tobacco use to stand idly by as we now lose Californians to vaping and nicotine addiction,” state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said at a news conference in Los Angeles.

“Juul adopted the tobacco industry’s infamous playbook, employing advertisements that had no regard for public health and searching out vulnerable targets,” he added.

The complaint was presented jointly by the California state government, the city and county of Los Angeles, and in it the plaintiffs claim that, besides targeting young people with its advertising, the firm did not warn the public about the fact that its products expose users to potentially dangerous chemicals and to the risk of cancer, birth defects and reproductive damage.

In addition, according to the plaintiffs, Juul did not verify the age of consumers of its products and violated privacy laws of minors by saving their e-mail addresses and using them to send those people more ads.

Specifically, the lawsuit says that the e-cigarette manufacturer publicized its mango, mint, cream and pepper flavors, which are especially popular among teens.

E-cigarettes are facing increasing restrictions in the US, with prohibitions on the local and state level and the threat by President Donald Trump to prohibit marketing the products on the national level.

Last week, the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report in which it raised to 42 the death toll for people who have died from lung damage caused by consumption of electronic cigarettes, along with more than 2,000 cases of non-lethal lung damage.

Vaping among teens has been steadily increasing despite efforts by health officials to limit it, with more than 25 percent of US high school students using e-cigarettes, according to recent figures from the CDC. EFE-EPA

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