The makers and distributors of some popular vape juice flavors, including One Mad Hit Juice Box, V’Nilla Cookies & Milk and Unicorn Cakes, have withdrawn products from sale, following warnings from the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Last week, the FDA announced that 17 companies had agreed to take products off the market, because they were packaged or advertised as ‘child-friendly’ food products like juice boxes and candies.
“When companies market these products using imagery that misleads a child into thinking they’re things they’ve consumed before, like a juice box or candy, that can create an imminent risk of harm,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner.
vaping.com did not stock any of the affected products and our range of vape juice will remain unchanged. It is expected that some of the e-liquids would still be sold under revised labeling and advertising.
Flavored e-liquids have come under scrutiny in recent months. Interest groups like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have called for all flavored tobacco products – including e-liquids, flavored cigars and menthol cigarettes – to be banned.
Although it seems like some vaping products are marketed at children, studies show that ex-smoking adult vapers prefer these flavors.
One recent study found that, whether they were former smokers or dual users, an overwhelming majority of vapers prefer fruit, dessert and candy flavors to regular tobacco flavors.
Flavored e-liquids play in important role in helping cigarette smokers switch to vaping. And this hasn’t been ignored by the FDA, which plays an important role in the regulation of tobacco products.
Dr. Gottlieb said that we must “consider how best to address flavors in non-combustible products like e-cigarettes – given both their clear appeal to youth but also the potential role certain flavors may play in helping some adult smokers transition to potentially less harmful tobacco products.”
Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that cigarette use has more than halved among middle schoolers and high schoolers between 2011 and 2017. In addition, a landmark study from Public Health England concluded that “there is no evidence so far that e-cigarettes are acting as a route into smoking for children or non-smokers”.
Even so, flavored e-liquids have come under fire from legislators. Earlier this year, the city of San Francisco voted in a public ballot to uphold a ban on flavored vape juice and other tobacco products.
There is concern that the city-wide ban, which has been labelled as one of the strictest vaping regulations in the western world, could be adopted by other local lawmakers, including other cities in California and in Chicago and New York.
Action has also been proposed at federal level. Senators Richard J. Durbin and Lisa Mirkowski recently introduced the ‘Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids’ (SAFE Kids) Act to crackdown on ‘child-friendly’ e-liquids.
If passed, the bill would require e-liquid manufacturers to prove that their flavorings aren’t harmful, don’t tempt kids into using nicotine and help adults quit. This evidence would need to be passed to the FDA within one year.
The FDA has made its own moves towards regulation. Earlier this year, they opened a public consultation into flavored e-liquids, inviting comments from vapers and other interested parties. There are no new FDA regulations in the pipeline as of yet, but this could change.