According to a report released Tuesday, December 31st, by the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is set to ban sales of flavored closed system vapor products in pod and non-refillable cartridge form.
The ban on flavors would apply only to closed system products such as JUUL, RJReynolds Vuse, and similar devices, but would exempt the open system vapor ecosystem including mods, refillable sub-ohm tanks, and e-liquids intended for use in those systems. For closed systems, the only flavor options would be tobacco and menthol.
Federal officials are expected to make the move public by Friday, January 3rd. The rationale behind banning flavors in closed systems is reportedly that these, rather than open system devices, are the more popular style of vapor hardware among underage users. This may be due to the fact that they are smaller, making them easier to conceal on one’s person and more comfortable to carry, and less powerful, making their use harder to detect at a glance.
Non-tobacco flavor pods and cartridges for closed system vapes are estimated to have pulled in 80% of vapor product sales in non age verified retail locations in 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. The FDA’s earlier plan would also have included menthol flavors in the ban, but has since been revised to ban only mint, fruit, and dessert flavors.
This move is seen as a compromise between an earlier ban on flavors for both closed system and open system vapor devices teased in September by President Donald Trump. That earlier proposal generated massive pushback from the vaper voting bloc which the President’s advisors feared could jeopardize his 2020 re-election. Trump softened his stance when made aware of the devastating impact a full flavor ban would have on small businesses. On Tuesday, he remarked to reporters:
“We’re taking it off, the flavors, for a period of time, certain flavors. We’re going to protect our families. We’re going to protect our children. We’re going to protect the industry.”