July 13 is the deadline for the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process on synthetic nicotine products.
Any marketed product sold in U.S. stores, such as Puff Bars or other vaping products, will become illegal if they do not meet the requirements of the FDA’s health and safety standards.
“Today, young people see vaping as cool. It was the kids who never would have smoked, and if you don’t get your arms around that fast, you’ll have another 30-year problem,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
In 2020, the FDA outlawed the sale of flavored tobacco products due to the number of kids it was enticing. According to a 2020 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 3 million high school students, or 19.6%, vape regularly, and 550,000 or 4.7% of middle schoolers do as well.
The law meant companies such as Juul, which controlled as much as 70% of the U.S. vaping market at the time, could only sell tobacco-flavored and mentholated tobacco products. Myers says the law was written in such a way that it allowed for loopholes. However, as other companies began creating synthetic nicotine that used no tobacco, which is why to this day, dozens of flavored vaping products are sold in convenience stores and gas stations nationwide.
“We’re really at a critical juncture both for e-cigarettes and in regard to youth cigarette use,” said Myers. “If the FDA follows through and removes from the market all of the flavored products that appeal to kids, we can reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic in a relatively short period of time.”
The FDA does not have a clear list of vaping companies that have applied for approval and has not revealed if any have received it.
Advocates say what happens next weighs on if and how the FDA enforces its policy after July 13.