The FDA and CDC just published the first results from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco survey in the CDC’s MMWR. The 2022 survey shows that 1 in 4 youth use menthol e-cigs, further strengthening the case that FDA should end its de facto authorization of menthol e-cigs
Specifically, 26.6% of kids say menthol is their most-used flavor. In addition, another 29.4% report mint, which likely includes e-cigs with menthol.
In addition, the FDA and CDC report that the most popular e-cig brands are Vuse (23. 6%), JUUL (22. 0%), SMOK (13. 5%), NJOY (8. 3%), Hyde (7. 3%), and blu (6. 5%). FDA has authorized Vuse and NJOY, still allows sale of Juul without authorization. In addition, blu is continuing to sell their products while they appeal FDA’s denial of a marketing order (MDO), because “Based on past practice, we expect the FDA will not seek to enforce the MDOs while this appeal remains ongoing, and we therefore expect the products to remain in the market during this period.”
That means that almost two-thirds (60.4%) of the brands kids are using are on the market with the FDA allowing their continued sale, either through direct authorization or because the companies are appealing MDOs.
Truth’s put out a strong statement calling on the FDA to “hit the reset button” on how it makes decisions about e-cigs:
We are calling on FDA’s leadership to hit the reset button on the Premarket Tobacco Application (PMTA) process. The industry is gaming the system and the FDA needs to change its game plan as the application volume and flood of new products illegally on the market have become untenable. Simply put, ‘pre-market’ review is supposed to be conducted before any product is allowed on the market — not the ‘post-market’ process that is in actuality what we have today. All unauthorized e-cigarettes including flavors, menthol and disposables should be removed from the market immediately and no new product should be allowed on the shelf while FDA accelerates its pre-market review process to protect public health as the law intended and requires. It should prioritize the application reviews for tobacco derived and synthetic nicotine e-cigarette products that make up the majority of sales (65%) and are the most popular among youth.
Every day of delay allows for the continued proliferation of new, flavored e-cigarettes to hit the market and the top brands to remain readily accessible. These delays have major consequences: According to our Truth Longitudinal Cohort data, up to 2.5 million youth and young adults (aged 15-24 years) have started using e-cigarettes following the missed court-ordered FDA deadline of September 9, 2021, to review e-cigarette marketing applications. It also leaves smokers uncertain whether these products will truly help or are even safe to use.
I couldn’t agree more.
In particular, at a minimum FDA should deny all menthol (and mint) e-cig PMTA’s based on its own analysis of menthol. The new data the FDA and CDC released today makes the case to do that even more overwhelming.
How many millions more kids need to get addicted for FDA to start protecting them instead of pursuing the fantasy that e-cigs are helping smokers?
Even more important: The new data adds to the already-compelling case for state and local bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. California voters will have a chance to support such a law by voting “yes” on Prop 31 in the November 2022 election.