FDA’s Gottlieb talks to Juul; promises ‘new action plan’ on vaping within days

In September 2018, Dr. Scott Gottlieb of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into five major vaping companies selling in the United States.  Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic 60 were given just 60-days to submit documentation regarding any allegedly kid-appealing marketing practices.  They were also remanded to provide planned future strategies for curbing teen vaping.  In mid-November, the 60-day deadline will pass into obscurity like a white, plume-like cloud of tasty vape juice.

Shortly after the September announcement, Gottlieb’s anti-vaping campaign kicked things up a notch by adding another 21 vapor retailers to their conspiratorial list.  These 21 companies were also required to submit to the FDA the same information and by the same predetermined date.

According to a recent FDA press release of October 31, meetings with all of these companies have taken place, and a “new action plan” for the vaping industry is in the works.  The new plan will further include a “series of new, forceful steps” to be announced within days.  Look for the new rollout to occur by mid-November, shortly after the Midterm Elections.

“Last month, I issued a call to action – to the FDA and to the e-cigarette industry – to stem the alarming increase in youth use of e-cigarettes. For the FDA, that has included an escalating series of steps that utilize the full range of our regulatory authorities, including increased enforcement of age- and identification-verification requirements, as well as re-examining aspects of our comprehensive plan on tobacco and nicotine regulation in order to strengthen our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan. We’re committed to announcing a new action plan by mid-November that will set forth a series of new, forceful steps to firmly confront and reverse the youth addiction trends that are at epidemic levels.”

Related Article: Gottlieb drags another 21 vape companies into FDA probe over ‘teen vaping’

In the meantime, many members of the American vaping industry are bracing for the worst.  The FDA’s new action plan could theoretically include a ban on the sales of flavored e-liquids or an all-encompassing ban on online sales of vaping products, including vape mods, coils, tanks, and other components.

Convenience store sales have also been threatened in recent statements to the press by Gottlieb.  So far, only brick-and-mortar vape shops seem to have a reprieve from additional FDA regulatory actions because Gottlieb essentially believes that their collective age identification practices are already inline.

Another perhaps more likely scenario might include a total ban on the sales of non-PMTA-compliant vape products.  Per the FDA deeming regulations, vaping devices, e-liquids, and other products manufactured and marketed prior to February 2015 are legally allowed to be sold in the US.  The new action plan might simply ban the sales of all other products, which would still be a huge hit for the American vaping community.

Wells Fargo makes prediction on possible vape ban

According to CS News, even executives of Wells Fargo Banks are seeing the proverbial writing on the legislative wall.  Even though FDA Commissioner Gottlieb has consistently expressed strong support of vaping for adult smokers trying to quit, he is also apparently disgusted by the alleged “epidemic” rise in teen vaping of recent months occurring across the United States.

"We still believe that new innovations that don’t use combustion, such as many e-cigarettes, may offer an important opportunity for adults to transition off combustible tobacco… We want to keep this option for adults open…”

Managing Director of Equity Research for Wells Fargo, Bonnie Herzog, believes that a ban on non-PMTA-compliant products is the more likely first step to be taken Gottlieb’s FDA.

“Despite the commissioner’s collaborative tone toward the tobacco and e-cigarette companies, it’s pretty clear that additional regulation of e-cigarette products is coming… "We (Wells Fargo) don’t necessarily agree and worry this could negatively impact adult smoker conversion.”

Even should an FDA ban on non-PMTA-compliant products take place by mid-November, vaping technology has advanced at an incredibly alarming rate since the February 2015 predicate date.  As a result, the availability of numerous, pre-2015 e-liquids and vaping devices might be extremely limited going forward.

If the FDA’s new action plan involves a ban on the sales of vaping products – in any form or manner – vaping enthusiasts may be caught off-guard almost immediately.  Although the FDA will probably allow a short window of time before enacting the new regulations, vapers might want to consider stocking up now while they still have the chance.

Related Article:  Squawk Box Alert: Is Gottlieb implementing a vaping flavor ban in 60 days?

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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