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Stricter compliance policy for e-cigarettes on the cards

WASHINGTON: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing stricter compliance policy for e-cigarette products and prioritizing regulation aimed at curbing their sale to minors, it said in draft guidelines announced Wednesday.

The agency will focus on tighter regulation for flavored e-cigarette products, except for tobacco, mint and menthol flavors, that would target retail and online sales which pose the risk of a minor buying such flavors.

Additionally, makers of such flavored e-cigarette products would have to submit an application for marketing these products by August 2021, a year earlier than the FDA had previously proposed.

Shares of tobacco companies Altria Group and Philip Morris International, which have been pressured amid recent news of rising regulatory scrutiny into e-cigarettes, fell initially but recouped those losses in morning trading.

The FDA had said in November it plans to restrict the sale of all other flavors, excluding tobacco, mint and menthol e-cigarettes, at traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores.

“We’re hopeful manufacturers and retailers will begin taking voluntary steps to further curb youth access to and appeal of these products,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who resigns from the agency next month, said in a statement.

Recent evidence shows mint and menthol-flavored e-cigarette products are preferred more by adults, but other flavors are preferred by minors over mint and menthol, the FDA said.

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