As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues its review of tobacco and e-cigarette products’ marketing applications, legislators and government officials, such as Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), are taking a stand and sharing their concerns on Big Tobacco’s marketing to teenage audiences.
In March 2022, Pallone “wrote to four leading vaping companies that sell synthetic nicotine products to request information regarding the health and safety of their products,” in addition to asking each company about their plans to “comply with federal regulation, details on their marketing practices, and their role in the promotion of vaping and nicotine use by kids and teens.”
According to a press release from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Pallone has addressed the youth vaping crisis by launching an inquiry on the impact of e-cigarettes on adolescents, holding a hearing on e-cigarette manufacturers’ impact on public health, and authoring legislation to address the youth tobacco epidemic, including language clarifying FDA’s authority over synthetic nicotine.
As part of the inquiry, Pallone asked the vaping companies to answer the following questions:
- Does your company intend to continue making its products available for sale and submit premarket tobacco applications for the products that contain nicotine? If so, specify for which products. If not, describe what steps the company will take to ensure these products are no longer available for sale 60 days after the enactment of the omnibus.
- What federal regulatory authorities is your company complying with to ensure the safety of its products and restricting its use to adults over the age of 21?
- What research has your company conducted related to its products?
- What is the breakdown of your company’s paid marketing for each year?
- What age-verification strategies does your company use to prevent underage sales to minors?
- Has your company ever run targeted online advertisements, and if so, which specific groups were targeted?
“Given the well-established health consequences of nicotine addiction, I am concerned by the proliferation of synthetic nicotine products like yours when so little is known about the scientific consequences of their use. I am also deeply troubled by the evident influence of your products on youth use of e-cigarettes,” Pallone wrote in the letters. “The rapid increase of adolescents using their products is alarming in its similarity to early tactics of other tobacco companies that contributed to the emergence of the youth vaping epidemic.”