Clearing Market of Flavored E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products

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Grave concerns for young and adult, alike.

Clearing Market of Flavored E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products

 

In response to increasing deaths and health concerns from vaping and use of e-cigarette use, the US government announced plans to “clear the market of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products”


The FDA intends to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks that would prioritize the agency’s enforcement of the premarket authorization requirements for non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, clearing the market of unauthorized, non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products. The FDA plans to share more on the specific details of the plan and its implementation soon. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”


Today’s announcement comes as preliminary numbers from the National Youth Tobacco Survey show a continued rise in the disturbing rates of youth e-cigarette use, especially through the use of non-tobacco flavors that appeal to kids. In particular, the preliminary data show that more than a quarter of high school students were current (past 30 day) e-cigarette users in 2019 and the overwhelming majority of youth e-cigarette users cited the use of popular fruit and menthol or mint flavors.


Acknowledging the “bold approach” announced today, Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, MD, said, “Once finalized, this compliance policy will serve as a powerful tool that the FDA can use to combat the troubling trend of youth e-cigarette use. We must act swiftly against flavored e-cigarette products that are especially attractive to children. Moreover, if we see a migration to tobacco-flavored products by kids, we will take additional steps to address youth use of these products. The tremendous progress we’ve made in reducing youth tobacco use in the U.S. is jeopardized by this onslaught of e-cigarette use. Nobody wants to see children becoming addicted to nicotine, and we will continue to use the full scope of our regulatory authority thoughtfully and thoroughly to tackle this mounting public health crisis.”


Following a rule which became effective August 8, 2016, all electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products were expected to file premarket tobacco product applications with the FDA within two years. ENDS products currently on the market are not being legally marketed and are subject to government action. The compliance policy the FDA anticipates announcing in the coming weeks will outline enforcement policy addressing non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products that lack premarket authorization moving forward.

The finalization of the compliance policy will be an important step in ongoing work to ensure e-cigarettes are not marketed to, sold to, or used by children.


On September 9, the FDA issued a warning letter to JUUL Labs, Inc, marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products by engaging in labeling, advertising, and/or other activities directed to consumers, including a presentation given to youth at a school. Concurrently, the agency issued a second letter expressing its concern — and requesting additional information — about several issues raised in a recent Congressional hearing regarding JUUL’s outreach and marking practices, including those targeted at students, tribes, health insurers and employers.


The Administration has also continued to invest in campaigns to educate youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use, including distribution of youth e-cigarette prevention posters and lesson plans to every public and private high school in the U.S. – with additional resources planned for middle school educators throughout the 2019-2020 school year. The agency also released resources for doctors, youth groups, churches, state and local public health agencies, and others on the dangers of youth e-cigarette use and has undertaken efforts to further the discussion and understanding around how to help aid those kids who are already addicted to e-cigarettes quit.


In December 2018, the Surgeon General issued an advisory on e-cigarette use among youth, emphasizing the importance of protecting youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks in light of the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.


While immediate concerns are for young people, vaping in the workplace is also a major concern.



Workplace Policy


To help companies dealing with vaping or use of e-cigarettes in the workplace, the Society for Human Resource Management, known as SHRM, has provided sample workplace policies that can be adapted for company use.  We reprint it here:


Introduction

[Company Name] is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and to promoting the health and well-being of its employees. As such, the following policy has been adopted and applies to all employees of [Company Name].

Policy

It is the policy of [Company Name] to prohibit smoking and vaping on all company premises to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all employees. Smoking is defined as the "act of lighting, smoking or carrying a lighted or smoldering cigar, cigarette or pipe of any kind." Vaping refers to the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems or electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-hookahs and e-cigars.


Scope

This policy applies to:

  • All areas of buildings occupied by company employees.
  • All company-sponsored offsite conferences and meetings.
  • All vehicles owned or leased by the company.
  • All company employees.
  • All visitors (customers and vendors) to company premises.
  • All contractors and consultants and/or their employees working on company premises.
  • All temporary employees.
  • All student interns.

Smoking and vaping are permitted only in the following designated outdoor areas:

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________


Procedures

Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including immediate discharge.

A process is in place for resolving complaints about the smoke- and vape-free policy:

  • Complaints about the application of this policy should be brought to the attention of the Human Resources Manager or the Plant Manager for resolution.
  • The complaint should be submitted in writing and should identify specific objections.
  • [Company Name] will investigate the complaint and resolve it in accordance with the policy.

No employee shall suffer any form of retaliation for raising a complaint or asking a question about this policy.

This policy is intended to comply with the requirements of [title of ordinance].


Statement of Understanding

I have read and fully understand the terms of this policy.

I understand that any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including immediate discharge.

I understand that [Company Name] reserves the right to make changes to this policy as needed.

_____________________________

Employee Name