Statement: FDA fails to fully protect kids from nicotine addiction

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

Federal government waters down proposal to restrict flavored e-cigarettes


WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration issued a policy today that would take many flavors of cartridge-based e-cigarettes such as Juul temporarily off the market due to their appeal to kids. Menthol and tobacco-flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes and any non-cartridge-based flavored products will remain on the market. 

The Trump Administration announced in September that it intended to take all flavored e-cigarettes off the market pending FDA review of the products because of the surge in e-cigarette use among minors. According to the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 1 in 4 high schoolers reported vaping last year. In that same survey, the combined category of “mint or menthol” ranked as the second most popular e-cigarette flavor used by high schoolers. 

In response, U.S. PIRG’s “End the Nicotine Trap” campaign director Matthew Wellington released the following statement:

“The Trump Administration made a promise to parents in September that flavored e-cigarettes would be taken off the market. The policy issued today is far weaker than the bold step forward announced in September. 

“Leaving menthol-flavored products on the shelves, and not restricting the myriad of flavors in non-cartridge-based products, limits the effectiveness of any effort to stop the youth e-cigarette epidemic. 

“Menthol remains a popular flavor among kids, and common sense dictates that they’ll migrate to menthol if other flavors aren’t available. The FDA’s policy will not fully protect kids from being lured into nicotine addiction by flavored e-cigarettes. 

“If the FDA continues to fall short, it’s up to state governments to step up and prohibit the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products aimed at creating lifelong customers from an early age, as Massachusetts recently did.”