The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) moves to block gas stations and convenience stores from selling e-cigarette products in child-friendly flavors, according to a report from The Washington Post . The ban, which is expected to be announced next week, is a step towards fighting what the FDA calls an epidemic of juvenile violence. But depending on how the ban unfolds, it can also be a big win for Big Tobacco.
This is not a blanket ban against vapes, according to Post quoting an anonymous FDA official. Gas stations and convenience stores can continue to sell mint or mentol flavors, not just those who taste like mango or nectar. (It is not clear whether tobacco flavor will be allowed.) The sale of flavored products can still be allowed in vape and tobacco stores as well as online stores with strict age verification plans. Vape stores will be allowed to continue to sell washing bottles and liquids coming in bottles, Post reports.
We do not know exactly how the ban will work or whether it will be one. (The FDA does not comment.) Still, if the prohibition Post describes, continuing, it will affect closed system-pod vapes in general. It will hit Juul the most difficult, "said Jidong Huang, a lecturer at Georgia State University, specializing in tobacco economics. A part of Juul's appeal is flavors, he says. And because Juul has dominated more than 70 percent of the e-cigarette market, it cuts off its knees, good news for other tobacco companies whose vapes are not as competitive.
In addition, cigarette smoking is at a low level. Public health experts say that we can not definitely allocate the smokers' smokers to the weapon. However, a majority of adults who use e-cigarettes also use cigarettes, which means that tobacco companies lose out on the nicotine supplier market. Analysts say that what's bad for Juul is good for tobacco companies, including those who produce vapes by themselves. "We continue to believe that some FDA measures to limit the sale of e-cigs to minors will benefit from tobacco producers," said Bonnie Herzog, CEO of equity research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, in an email analysis. "We therefore expect tobacco containers to act on the news."
Juul is independent of Big Tobacco companies, unlike brands such as Blu, Vuse and the Market. And it's unlikely to pull tasting cartridges from the grocery shelves to Big Tobacco in your wallet, "Huang said. After all, the tobacco giant Altria decided to taste its tasteful products even before The Washington Post s scoop. "It's not because they are pro-people's health, that's because it does not affect the bottom line," Huang said. "It is very likely that this ban will benefit the tobacco industry in general."
James Campbell, a spokesman for Fontem Ventures , the company behind Blu e-cigs and a subsidiary of the Tobacco Company Imperial Brands PLC, also believes this ban may be good for the business. "A significant part of our sales is Tobacco, Menthol and Mint, and we have several product formats," says Campbell. email to The Verge . "So we will come out of this as competitive or more competitive than before."
Spokesmen for British American Tobacco (the company behind the Vuse line in vapes) and JT International (the company behind Logic) say they are waiting to see the official plan from the FDA before wondering about its effects. Altria did not respond immediately to a sent request. Juul refused to comment ̵
The prohibition aims to address major health problems about a generation of young people who get hooked on wet and nicotine. In terms of public health, Huang anticipates the effects that such a ban will be mixed: he expects that it will restrict sales in stores and reduce juvenile wreckage, but it can make it more difficult for adults to switch from flammable to electronic cigarettes. "What's complicated is that the taste is something that kids like, but the taste is something that grown-ups also like," says Huang.
Although we know that flavored vapes are important childcare products, the jury is still looking at how important flavors are when you help adults kick their smoking habits. It is true that e-cigarettes for adult smokers are considered to be less harmful than the usual type, according to a massive report from national academies for science, technology and medicine. The problem is that we still do not know their long-term effects, and an increasing number of children use them. Although the Disease Control and Prevention Centers and the FDA have not released the latest numbers, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the data reveals an "e-cigarette campaign among teenagers".
It is unclear what the ban actually prohibits because the FDA has refused to comment on it. The post did not say, for example, whether the FDA also intends to stop the sale of flavored cigars and sigillos, as Desmond Jenson, a lawyer at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law, says it would be important to include.
"When you talk to people who are not public health about cigars, people show Winston Churchill with a big stogie in the mouth, but that's not what we're talking about, says Jenson. Cigars can come in several shapes and flavors, including Black & Milds, Swisher Sweets, and other cigarette-like cigars. They do not get the same attention as e-cigarettes do, and not so many use them, he says. "But everyone is in common agreement that combustible products are the most dangerous."  That these could potentially be omitted from a taste banner, Huang worries because we have seen how bans can have spillover effects in the past. When the FDA forbade the sale of flavored cigarettes, for example, more people were gravitated against still-legal menthol cigarettes as well as flavored cigars and tubes , according to a paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine . "You actually see an increase in the sale of flavored cigars and cigarettes after the 2009 Tobacco Control Act," Huang said.
Therefore, Huang believes that the FDA's e-cig ban on gas stations and convenience stores should go further. "They should also ban the sale of all flammable tobacco products in addition to the flavored e-cigarettes," he said. Doing so would prevent the children from weapons, he adds. "But it also gives incentives for adult smokers to switch from flammable cigarettes to e-cigarettes." Jenson agrees that a taste bud that only affects e-cigarettes does not go far enough. "If we only talk about e-cigarettes and not cigars," he says, "there is a missed opportunity for the FDA."