The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it will allow a unit of British American Tobacco to keep selling its Vuse Solo e-cigarettes in the United States.
The decision is part of the agency’s broader review of the vaping industry, following years of pressure from politicians and public health groups to regulate the segment as strictly as other tobacco products.
The decision marks the first time the agency has approved an e-cigarette brand for sale in the U.S.
The FDA gained the power to regulate new tobacco products in 2009. Over the last decade, thousands of e-cigarettes appeared on store shelves without any approval from the agency, which allowed the sale of those products as it phased in standards for the burgeoning industry.
A court decision created a timeline for the FDA’s approval process of e-cigarette company’s premarket tobacco product applications. The agency received roughly 6.5 million applications from about 500 companies by the Sept. 9, 2020 deadline. The FDA has already denied tens of thousands of applications from smaller players like JD Nova Group and Great American Vapes for their flavored vape products.
The decision is sure to be met with criticism by anti-tobacco groups. In 2019, federal data found that more than 1-in-4 high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, up from 11.7% just two years prior. By last year, that number fell to 19.6% of high school students amid greater regulatory scrutiny and the coronavirus pandemic. An outbreak of vaping-related lung disease only heightened concerns about e-cigarettes.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.
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