The US Food and Drug Administration’s plans to restrict the availability of tobacco and nicotine-delivery products containing flavors has been generally welcomed.
The FDA yesterday outlined a new policy framework to address what it sees as the ‘central problems’: ‘youth appeal and youth access to flavored tobacco products’ [the FDA deems electronic cigarettes to be tobacco products].
It said it would be taking steps on the following product categories:
- ‘Flavored ENDS products (other than tobacco, mint, and menthol flavors or non-flavored products) that are not sold in an age-restricted, in-person location;
- ‘Flavored ENDS products (other than tobacco, mint, and menthol flavors or non-flavored products) that are sold online without heightened age verification processes;
- ‘Flavored cigars;
- ‘ENDS products that are marketed to kids; and
- ‘Menthol in combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes and cigars.’
Companies and organizations have been falling over themselves to welcome the plans insofar that they target reducing the availability of flavored products to young people.
But they are split over the question of menthol combustible cigarettes, with cigarette companies generally setting out their position that there is not enough scientific evidence to support a ban on menthol cigarettes.
Meanwhile, some organizations want the FDA to go further. The president of the American Medical Association, Barbara L. McAneny, MD, said AMA policy called for the FDA to go a step further and prohibit the use of flavoring agents in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.