FDA Approves Menthol Flavored E-Cigarettes in Landmark Decision
Image By: CNN

FDA Approves Menthol Flavored E-Cigarettes in Landmark Decision

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration allowed adult smokers to purchase menthol-flavored electronic cigarettes on Friday. This is the first time the agency has allowed vaping companies to offer goods without tobacco flavors.

The tobacco giant Altria recently acquired the vaping brand Njoy, and the FDA gave the go-ahead for Njoy to sell four menthol e-cigarettes. Regulators, however, added that they would consider requests for permission to sell flavored e-cigarettes on a case-by-case basis and that their decisions would affect Njoy’s four products.

The FDA said in a statement that it has concluded that using menthol-flavored e-cigarettes can lessen the risks associated with regular tobacco use. The FDA has concluded that a medicine is safe and effective for the purpose for which it was prescribed, but the agency made clear that it is not authorizing menthol vaping goods.

Rather, Njoy’s authorization by the government just signifies that it has been given regulatory clearance to advertise its goods to the general public.

“We are a data driven agency and will continue to follow the science to inform our review of premarket tobacco applications,”  Matthew Farrelly, director for the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, stated. “Based upon our rigorous scientific review, in this instance, the strength of evidence of benefits to adult smokers from completely switching to a less harmful product was sufficient to outweigh the risks to youth.”

The ruling gives vaping businesses’ long-standing assertion that their products can lessen the harm caused by smoking—which is responsible for 480,000 deaths in the United States each year from heart disease, lung disease, and cancer—newfound legitimacy.

The decision, which came after years of pressuring regulators to keep menthol and other flavors that might appeal to teenagers off the market, was swiftly attacked by parent organizations and anti-tobacco advocates.

Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes stated that, “This decision could mean we’ll never be able to close the Pandora’s box of the youth vaping epidemic. FDA has once again failed American families by allowing a predatory industry to source its next generation of lifetime customers — America’s children.”

Though 10% of high school students reported using e-cigarettes last year, youth vaping has decreased from all-time highs in recent years. Ninety percent of vapers utilized flavors, including menthol.

Read Also: Amendment to Adjust Tipped Workers’ Minimum Wage Sparks Legal Action

The FDA had previously approved only tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, which are not commonly used by young people who vape.

Just three businesses—including Njoy—have previously obtained FDA approval for vaping goods. Similar to previous items, the menthol variants are also inserted into cartridges that fit into a reusable device that warms the liquid nicotine to create an aerosol that can be inhaled.

Retail data from Nielsen indicates that less than 3% of e-cigarette sales in the United States over the previous year were made up of Njoy’s goods. About 60% of the market is dominated by Reynolds American-owned Vuse and Juul, with hundreds of throwaway brands making up the remaining share.

The majority of teenagers who vape use disposable e-cigarettes, such as those made by Elf Bar and available in flavors like watermelon and blueberry ice.

The FDA’s extensive review, which includes the clearance of Njoy, aims to provide scientific scrutiny to the multibillion-dollar vaping industry following years of regulatory delays.

Thousands of fruit- and candy-flavored vapes, which are technically illegal but are easily accessible in convenience stores, petrol stations, and vape shops, are currently on the market in the United States.

Reference

profile
With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.