• In a report released on January 30, the American Lung Association’s 2019 “State of Tobacco Control” finds that in 2018, states and the federal government failed to take meaningful action in putting in place policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The Association gave the federal government an “F” grade saying that it has failed to implement the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and, on the whole, many states received poor grades in multiple categories, including funding for tobacco prevention programs, strength of workplace laws, level of tobacco taxes, coverage and access to services to quit tobacco, and minim age of sale for tobacco products.
  • In November 2018, FDA announced new steps to protect youth from flavored e-cigarettes, which would include sales restrictions for flavored e-cigarettes (except mint, menthol, and tobacco flavors) and soon-to-be-announced heightened age-verification for online sales of flavored e-cigarettes. FDA followed up on that announcement with a public hearing on January 18, 2019 focused on the role drug therapies could play in eliminating youth e-cigarette use.
  • However, the report specifically cites the surge of e-cigarette use among adolescents as “one clear consequence of FDA’s inaction” and that it believes FDA’s announced steps to restrict access to flavored e-cigarettes are insufficient. The Association proposes that the agency extend sales restrictions to mint and menthol flavors, and ultimately, prohibit all e-cigarettes. Whether the agency will take more actions on e-cigarettes is yet to be seen. Check Keller and Heckman’s Tobacco and E-Vapor blog, www.thecontinuumofrisk.com for more analysis of the regulation of tobacco and e-vapor products, including updates on contemplated sales bans on cartridge-based products and flavors.