Federal authorities have expanded a government investigation of the vape industry while threatening to pull dozens of new vaping products off the market if they are found to be noncompliant with U.S. regulations.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it sent letters on Oct. 12 to 21 vape companies, including the vape units of Big Tobacco companies British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco as part of a probe to determine whether they are illegally marketing some 40 new products.
Earlier this month, FDA authorities paid a surprise visit to the San Francisco offices of Juul, the world’s largest vape maker, and seized about one thousand pages of documents. The multibillion-dollar vape maker produces vaping devices that plug into USB ports and are wildly popular among U.S. teens. Juul wasn’t among the recipients of the FDA’s letters because the agency obtained the information it sought in the Oct. 2 search.
The FDA’s aggressive actions against the vaping industry are primarily motivated by concerns that vaping is now an epidemic among U.S. youth and that the vaping is creating new generations of nicotine addicts.
The FDA is now trying to determine whether the 21 vape companies, including Vuse Alto, myblu, Myle, Rubi, and STIG, have been selling products without first obtaining FDA approval as required by law.
Any vape product introduced after Aug. 8, 2016, must be submitted to the FDA first for review before it can be marketed and sold. Vaping products brought to market before that date must apply for FDA approval retroactively. The original deadline to apply for retroactive approval was this year but the FDA extended that deadline last year until 2022.
The FDA now threatens to reverse the application extension and pull flavored vape products s from the market if companies are found to be snubbing U.S. regulations.
“Companies are on notice — the FDA will not allow the proliferation of [vaping devices] or other tobacco products potentially being marketed illegally and outside of the agency’s compliance policy, and we will take swift action when companies are skirting the law,” Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “Given the explosive growth of [vaping] by kids, we’re committed to taking whatever measures are appropriate to stem these troubling use trends.”