New report shows e-cigarettes remain widely available, including in Maine, three months after FDA deadline for action

Three months after a court-imposed deadline for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to decide which e-cigarette products can stay on the market, FDA delays have left e-cigarettes in kid-friendly flavors widely available across the country, including Portland, according to a new report released by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Children. The report clearly shows that to fully protect children, Portland and other cities in Maine should end the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

By a federal court order, e-cigarette manufacturers were required to submit marketing applications to the FDA by September 9, 2020, and products that were the subject of timely applications were authorized. to remain on the market for up to a year while the FDA reviewed the applications, a period that expired on September 9, 2021. The Tobacco Free Campaign and other public health groups have urged the FDA to deny marketing claims for all flavored electronic cigarettes due to the clear evidence that flavored products have fueled an epidemic of e-cigarette consumption and nicotine addiction among young people.

Retail assessments were conducted at 43 stores in eight cities across the country, including Portland, between October 25 and November 1. These stores included 28 gas stations or convenience stores and 15 vape / tobacco stores in the eight markets (Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; Portland; Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Tempe, Arizona; and Washington, DC). Store reviews documented the availability of top-selling e-cigarette brands including Juul, Vuse, NJOY, blu, Puff Bar, and Bidi, as well as other disposable e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

The main findings show that Juul was sold in all cities and that Vuse, NJOY and blu were available in most cities. Flavored e-liquids have been found in most cities, in flavors like green apple, cola, peach rings, tropical fruit, strawberry macaroon, and island orange. Disposable e-cigarettes were available in every city in a rainbow of flavors, including Coconut Pineapple Smoothie, Strawberry Ice Cream, Gummy Bear, Granita mango and Blue Razz lemonade. The report was presented with full results, so city and store specific data is not available.

The FDA has reported that it has denied marketing applications for more than one million flavored e-cigarette products. However, the FDA has yet to make a decision on which brands of e-cigarettes have the largest market share or are most popular with children, such as Juul, most products Vuse, NJOY, blu, Smok and Suorin. The FDA also continues to keep the door open to authorizing menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, despite the popularity of menthol-flavored products with children. In addition, more than 40 e-cigarette companies have filed lawsuits against refusal-to-market orders from the FDA, and other companies – including Puff Bar, the flavored disposable e-cigarette which is now the most popular brand among consumers. children – sought to evade FDA regulation. using synthetic nicotine (nicotine made in the laboratory rather than derived from tobacco).

The report calls on states and cities to continue their increasing efforts to end the sale of all flavored electronic cigarettes, as well as other flavored tobacco products. National and local action is more critical than ever given uncertainty over what and when the FDA will do, legal challenges to FDA actions, and e-cigarette manufacturers’ efforts to evade FDA regulation. with synthetic nicotine.

Although e-cigarette use among young people has declined from record levels reached in 2019, it remains a serious public health problem. According to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than two million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the first semester of 2021, even though many schools remained closed due to the pandemic of COVID-19. The survey highlighted that flavored products boost youth use, as 85% of young e-cigarette users report using flavored products, with fruits, candy / desserts / other sweets, with mint and menthol being reported as the most popular flavors. Indicating the addictive power of the products that now dominate the market, 43.6% of high school electronic cigarette users report frequent use (at least 20 days per month) and 27.6% report daily use.

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