Banning E-Cigarette Sales Online Is ‘On the Table,’ FDA Says

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the government may explore banning the online sale of e-cigarettes, amid what he has called an epidemic of use by youth that’s caused the agency to reconsider its stance.

“That’s one thing that’s going to be on the table,” Gottlieb said at an event in Washington hosted by Axios. The health agency oversees tobacco products and e-cigarettes and could start moving on new regulations by November, Gottlieb said.

Key Insights

  • Sales restrictions would be a blow to Juul Labs Inc. Sales of the company’s popular e-cigarette have boomed as a smoking alternative but also, say critics, among teen users.
  • The FDA has been considering how to regulate e-cigarettes since proposing them as a cornerstone of its proposals to reduce traditional smoking. Excessive use by previous non-smokers, including teens, could upend those plans.
  • There are currently no FDA rules about how e-cigarettes are sold online, Gottlieb said at the event.

What Happens Next

  • “The thing we can do most immediately without rule-making is our enforcement discretion,” Gottlieb said. For now, the FDA has allowed e-cigarette sales to continue despite not having reviewed the products.
  • Gottlieb said the FDA is “strongly considering” forcing e-cigarettes off the market until they’ve been individually reviewed by the agency.
  • “In terms of addressing the appeal of these products to kids, this is the most meaningful thing we can do,” Gottlieb said.

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