New restrictions on flavored pods

FDA unveils new age based rules on flavored nicotine e-liquid and cartridges

Photo courtesy of The New York Post | The Food and Drug Adminstration announced new restrictions on sales of various flavored nicotine products in stores. In response to the relegations, JUUL began to halt the sales of pods made for its popular “JUUL” device.

Popular electronic-nicotine company JUUL announced a halt of sales for electronic cigarette (e-cigs) pods at retail locations in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement of new restrictions on the sales of flavored e-liquid, cartridges and pods. The new restrictions will affect sales at brick-and-mortar locations, and age-verification systems will need to be improved.

The move by the FDA came from its own survey, which found that the use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) by high school students increased by 78 percent from 2017-2018. Although these efforts are targeting the reduction of underage usage of nicotine products, many legal users are concerned about what the regulations will mean for them.

The FDA is specifically trying to target the “fruity,sweet or creamy” flavors instead of the less “kid-friendly” flavors such as mint, menthol and tobacco. “We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a speech at the agency’s headquarters. “In the coming weeks, we’ll take additional action under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan (YTPP) to immediately address the youth access to, and the appeal of, these products.”

“It’s stupid,” first-year Ben Edgar said. “It’s not going to do anything about kids JUUL-ing because people just start with whatever’s in the starter pack.”

A 2013 FDA survey found that 81 percent of current youth e-cig users claimed that the flavors were their main reason for use.  The FDA claims that the packaging of these dessert-flavored ENDS is deliberately marketed towards children with the bright colors and exciting flavors.

The FDA and Gottlieb cite flavors named after candy and soda-pop products, as well as cartoon characters, that are popular with underage children as further evidence for this claim

The main change that will affect all e-cig users over the age of 18 is that e-nicotine, flavored cigars and menthol cigarette products will no longer be sold in stores without age-restricted entry. This new rule means that places like gas stations and supermarkets, which typically sell these products, will no longer be able to.

Only designated shops that require patrons to be over the age of 18 and stores that have age-restricted areas will be allowed to sell the e-nicotine products. Consumers should also expect to see more careful age-verification while shopping online.

JUUL is not only complying with these regulations but also taking the initiative further. They are removing their flavored products,which include cucumber, mango, creme and fruit from all retail locations. They are also requiring customers to be at least 21 years old to purchase their products. 

“I don’t really care because mint is my main one,” first-year A.J. Boggess said. “I’m just resorting to using that only.” 

Many people believe that the stricter rules implemented by JUUL will push people to use other e-nicotine products like Sourin, which is a direct competitor.

According to an official statement on their website, the company will work with retailers to improve accountability and reduce bulk purchasing, which will help keep their products out of the hands of minors.

The company is also looking to standardize age-verification practices among all retail locations that sell their products.

The company will also ramp up their “secret shopper program,” which is designed to verify that their standards are being followed by retailers. The plan is to increase from 500 visits per month to 2,000. The statements say that they will “permanently cut off all sales to retail stores with multiple violations.”

By: Joseph Cotton | Staff Writer