Kid-friendly flavored e-cigarettes/vapes are still widely available online and in stores, despite a federal judge’s ruling that should have pulled the products off store shelves by early September, a new report shows.
The judge’s ruling follows on U.S. Food and Drug Administration action that is nearly two years old.
Citing risks to vulnerable children, the FDA first announced in January 2020 that “companies that do not cease manufacture, distribution and sale of unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes [other than tobacco or menthol] within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions.”
That was then, this is now, critics say.
Today, more than 100 flavored vaping products with enticing flavors like Gummy Bear, Funnel Cake, Fruit Punch, Berry Crunch Cereal and Blueberry Lemonade are still sold through the five top online e-cigarette retailers, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids report found.
Flavored vapes also were widely available in convenience stores and gas stations located in eight cities across the country, the report added.
“Flavored e-cigarettes of precisely the kind that youth are using are widely available both on the internet and in retail outlets,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says.
“Flavors attract them. Nicotine addicts them,” Myers continues. “Without the flavors, many fewer kids would be attracted to these products — 85% of the kids who use an e-cigarette use a flavored one.”
A federal court had set a deadline of Sept. 9 for e-cigarette manufacturers to either get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for their products or face having them pulled from the market.
Unauthorized e-cigarette products remain on the market months past that deadline, even though they are subject to FDA enforcement action, the report found.
In-store assessments conducted in eight cities found that:
- Juul was sold in all cities, and brands like Vuse, NJOY and blu were available in most.
- Flavored e-liquids were found in most cities, in flavors like Green Apple, Cola, Peachy Rings, Tropical Fruit, Strawberry Macaroon and Island Orange.
- Disposable e-cigarettes were available in every city in flavors like Coconut Pineapple Smoothie, Strawberry Ice Cream, Gummy Bear, Mango Slushee and Blue Razz Lemonade.
The cities included in the survey were Denver; Detroit; Los Angeles; Portland, Maine; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Tempe, Ariz.; and Washington, DC.
The report helps explain why e-cigarette sales continue to skyrocket in the United States, Myers said.