The US Food and Drug Administration has denied approval for two menthol e-cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company – the Vuse Vibe Tank Menthol 3.0% and the Vuse Ciro Cartridge Menthol 1.5%. These products can’t be marketed or distributed going forward.
Studies have shown that menthol tobacco products can be more addictive as they mask the unpleasant flavors of tobacco. The FDA says that menthol and sweet-flavored e-cigarettes can be more appealing to teenagers and young people.
The CDC estimates that, in the US, nearly 17% of high school students vape. Health experts have expressed concerns about this, as most adults who smoke start before the age of 18.
When announcing the latest decision against menthol e-cigarettes, the FDA said it had evaluated the health risks of the products, as well as how they are labeled, manufactured, and packaged.
They found that there was not enough evidence they would be “appropriate for the protection of the public health,” which is the standard required by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
In a press release, the FDA said: “The applications for these products did not present sufficient scientific evidence to show that the potential benefit to adult smokers outweighs the risks of youth initiation and use.”
R.J. Reynolds said it plans to dispute the decision so it can offer its products to adults. The company said: “We believe that menthol vapor products are critical to helping adult smokers migrate away from combustible cigarettes. FDA’s decision, if allowed to go into effect, will harm, not benefit, public health. Reynolds will challenge the denials.”
Health campaigners have welcomed the news. Erika Sward, assistant vice president of national advocacy for the American Lung Association, said: “The FDA’s continued recognition that flavored e-cigarettes or any flavored tobacco product does not protect the public health is very welcome.
It’s clear that menthol products, including menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, attract and hook kids and the American Lung Association hopes to see similar rejections on the way to them ultimately eliminating menthol cigarettes, as well, from the marketplace.”