The Food and Drug Administration, alarmed by a huge increase in vaping among minors, is expected to impose severe restrictions on the sale of e-cigarette products throughout the United States — actions that will probably have a significant impact on an industry that has grown exponentially in recent years with little government oversight.
As soon as next week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is expected to announce a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in tens of thousands of convenience stores and gas stations across the country, according to senior agency officials. The agency will also impose such rules as age-verification requirements for online sales, the officials say.
Gottlieb also is expected to propose banning menthol in regular cigarettes. The agency has been collecting public comments on such a prohibition, which is a major goal of the public health community but is likely to be strongly opposed by the cigarette industry.
The FDA’s initiatives on vaping are spurred by preliminary government data that show e-cigarette use rose 77 percent among high schoolers and nearly 50 percent among middle schoolers in 2018. That means 3.5 million children were vaping in early 2018, up 1 million from 2017.