Anti-tobacco groups urge FDA to act on outstanding applications for e-cigarettes

It’s been more than four months since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was supposed to decide which e-cigarette products can remain on the market, but the agency still hasn’t completed some of the reviews.

In response, several anti-tobacco groups sent a letter to the FDA urging it to take action on the outstanding premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) and pushed for the FDA to deny applications for flavored e-cigarette products.

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“We write to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite decisions on the premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) still pending before the agency involving the flavored e-cigarette products, including those with menthol flavoring and, based on the best available scientific evidence, deny the pending applications for all non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes in order to protect the nation’s young people from the health harms of these products,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids among others.

“Every day that FDA delays action, more of our kids remain at risk,” said Matthew Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “While the FDA has ruled on applications from a lot of small companies, it hasn’t ruled on the applications from the large companies whose products are being used by a majority of kids.”

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In response to the push by the groups, Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association, pointed to data showing that youth vaping has been declining and blasted anti-tobacco groups who “continue to push for a new drug war by amping up the moral panic around safer nicotine products.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), use of e-cigarettes went down among middle and high school students from 2019 to 2020.

But even with the drop, the CDC said it “estimated that more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students reported currently using e-cigarettes in 2021.”

We asked the FDA about when the agency may complete the reviews of the pending applications and a spokesperson only said it would respond directly to the letter writers.