FDA to finish rules on e-cigarettes sales before Gottlieb resigns

The US Food and Drug Administration will soon announce broad restrictions on where flavored e-cigarettes are sold, in an effort to prevent young people from taking up vaping.

The crackdown is intended to combat the surge in popularity of vaping devices like Juul among the under-18 crowd, and will be finalized before FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb steps down in the next few weeks, he told Business Insider during an interview about his departure from the post. He also hinted at “some other changes” aimed at curbing youth vaping.

The change “will effectively mean that they’re not going to be sold in convenience stores in the way they’re being sold right now,” Gottlieb told Business Insider. He didn’t provide additional details on the plan.

“It’s something that I will get settled before I leave the position,” Gottlieb said. “I’m 100% certain that I’ll get this settled before I leave.”

The idea was first proposed in mid-November of last year, and Bloomberg News previously reported that the FDA would officially propose limits on sales of some flavored e-cigarettes this week. The original proposal would not affect flavors like tobacco, mint or menthol, in an effort to keep them available for adult smokers who may be trying to quit.

Juul, an e-cigarette startup that is now partially owned by Marlboro maker Altria, banned retail sales of its fruit, creme, and mango flavors last fall, just before the FDA announced its intention to crack down on flavored e-cigarettes. The flavors are still available online, where customers have to verify that they are 21 or over.

In November, FDA also proposed the idea of banning menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, which research suggests can also be a common on-ramp to smoking.

Gottlieb, who is a father of three, announced his resignation last week, saying he wanted to spend more time with his young family. He gave a month’s notice.

Advocates worried that Gottlieb’s departure could undo progress on public health issues like youth vaping. E-cigarettes are seen as a way that young people get addicted to nicotine.

But Gottlieb told Business Insider on Tuesday that he was “very confident” that restriction on where e-cigarettes are sold would get out.

He said he was also “very confident we’re going to be making some other changes to address the youth epidemic of e-cigarettes.”

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