The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will need more time to determine whether major e-cigarette brands such as Juul can keep selling their products legally in the United States.
The agency was tasked with reviewing marketing applications for more than 6 million vaping products by Thursday, many of which were already on the market. The Thursday deadline was set by a federal judge one year ago amid growing pressure from public health groups to speed up the safety review process.
Regulators have rejected more than 946,000 of those products, including flavored vaping liquids, because their applications did not prove they provided benefits to adult smokers outweighing the negative appeal the flavors would have on minors. The FDA reached decisions on about 93% of all applications received by last year’s deadline, but the industry giant Juul will have to wait a bit longer for regulators.
“There’s more work to be done to complete our remaining reviews and ensure that we continue taking appropriate action to protect our nation’s youth from the dangers of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock and Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller said in a joint statement.
Regulators said previously that they would fast-track applications from the major industry players, such as Juul, NJOY, and Reynolds American. The agency did not specify when it expected to conclude its review of Juul’s menthol and tobacco-flavored products, which account for more than 40% of the market.
“We continue to work expeditiously on the remaining applications that were submitted by the court’s Sept. 9, 2020, deadline, many of which are in the final stages of review,” the FDA officials said.
Putting an end to the teenage vaping epidemic was at the top of the Trump administration’s to-do list, but efforts to ban flavors and modulate nicotine content dwindled. The effort was sidelined in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic got underway.
Earlier this year, the FDA under President Joe Biden proposed a ban on menthol-flavored cigarettes, which would not have affected vaping products. Still, the move signaled to the vaping industry that the new administration planned to pick up where the old one left off.
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Original Author: Cassidy Morrison