Coalition of 31 states calls on FDA to regulate flavored e-cigarettes

They're concerned teens are still using e-cigs despite state efforts.

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Jon Fingas
August 18, 2021 4:30 PM
Man smoking E-Cigarette indoor.
mauro_grigollo via Getty Images

The US crackdown on flavored e-cigarettes might soon reach the federal government. A New York-led coalition of 31 states and territories is pressuring the Food and Drug Administration to regulate flavored e-cigarettes. The group wants to not only ban e-cigs with "youth-appealing" flavors like candy, mint and menthol, but to limit nicotine levels and restrict marketing efforts aimed at kids.

The coalition is hoping to thwart what it calls a "youth nicotine epidemic." About 19.6 percent of high school students from 2020 said they'd used e-cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine. The alliance also pointed to the effects of nicotine on kids' brains, including higher chances of addiction as well as mental health issues and poisoning.

The pressure campaign follows high-profile action against e-cigarettes at the state level, particularly in New York. The state not only banned flavored cigarettes in late 2019, but sued Juul (where tobacco giant Altria is a minority investor) for "deceptive and misleading" marketing that contributed to a youth vaping crisis. We've asked Juul for comment on this latest action.

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There's a chance the states could get more than they were hoping for when the FDA will decide whether or not to ban e-cigs and oral nicotine starting on September 9th. Even if this doesn't lead to an extensive ban, though, the coalition's sought-after measures could significantly limit the reach of e-cig technology across the US.

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