The FDA clears the sale of Vuse vapor merchandise, a primary for the e-cigarette trade


A person uses a Juul Labs electronic cigarette maker in San Francisco on Monday, June 24, 2019.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would allow a unit of British American Tobacco to resell its Vuse Solo e-cigarettes in the United States.

The decision is part of the agency’s broader review of the steam industry after years of pressuring politicians and public health groups to regulate the segment as strictly as other tobacco products.

With the decision, the agency has approved an e-cigarette brand for sale in the United States for the first time

However, approval does not include some of the flavored products filed by RJ Reynolds Vapor Co. under the Vuse Solo trademark.

The FDA was given authority to regulate new tobacco products in 2009. Over the past decade, thousands of e-cigarettes have appeared on store shelves without agency approval, allowing these products to be sold as standards for the emerging industry gradually rolled out.

A court ruling established a timeline for the FDA’s approval process for the e-cigarette company’s advance tobacco product submissions. As of the cut-off date, the agency had received around 6.5 million applications from around 500 companies, but the agency has yet to decide on all of these products.

It has denied approval of tens of thousands of applications from smaller companies like JD Nova Group and Great American Vapes for their flavored vape products.

The approval of Vuse Solo is sure to meet with criticism from anti-tobacco groups. In 2019, federal data found that more than 1 in 4 high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, up from 11.7% just two years earlier. By last year, that number had dropped to 19.6% of high school students due to tighter government controls and the coronavirus pandemic. An outbreak of vaping-related lung disease only added to concerns about e-cigarettes.

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