A new law will ensure that vaping companies that sell products with synthetic nicotine can be regulated by health authorities.
When the law took effect Thursday, it closed a loophole that allowed the products to avoid oversight. Now, they must follow the same federal sales restrictions and age requirements as tobacco products, the Associated Press reported.
The new law “allows FDA to protect the public health from the harms of tobacco products, regardless of the source of nicotine,” the FDA said in a statement Wednesday. These vaping companies must register with the FDA and submit their products for review within 30 days, the AP reported. The change does not ban these products outright, but brings them under regulatory oversight. So far, the FDA has rejected more than one million vaping devices, formulas, and flavors; often the rejections are because of the products’ appeal to teens.
While nicotine is a natural component of tobacco plants, a chemically derived version has existed for decades. Long-considered expensive to make, manufacturing advances have made it more profitable, the AP reported. The vaping company Puff Bar began using synthetic nicotine in its products last February, saying those e-cigarettes “do not contain tobacco or anything derived from tobacco.”
Anti-tobacco groups expressed concern that the FDA is always a step behind vaping companies whose products teenagers are getting and using. “The lesson we can all take away from this is that when the FDA’s actions are incomplete and happen after the fact — which has often been the case with e-cigarettes — you will always be playing whack-a-mole and catch-up,” Robin Koval, chief executive of the advocacy group Truth Initiative, told the AP.