The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is bringing new restrictions to the sale of e-cigarettes to put an end to the “alarming” increase in vaping among teenagers. According to data collected by the agency, there was a 78% increase in vaping among high school students and a 48% increase among middle school students.
Sale of flavored e-cigarettes, except menthol, will be banned at places where the under-aged can purchase them. According to the FDA data, over 3.6 million school students currently use e-cigarettes.
The move comes two months after the FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tasked the cigarette makers to come up with an action plan to reduce addiction among teenagers. Altria (MO), British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, and Japan Tobacco were asked to submit reports on the same before November 11.
Gottlieb has also set certain policies for the sale of these products, which, if violated, may lead to the products being pulled out of stores.
Altria shares were down 1.9% during intra-day trading following the announcement. Meanwhile, peer tobacco company Philip Morris International (PM) was almost flat on Thursday. Both companies have been hit hard by the crackdown on cigarette consumption by the FDA. During the past 52 weeks, Altria shares have been down 10.7%, while PM is down 16%.
Manufacturers who wish to sell flavored e-cigarettes in the future will now need to get it tested and authorized by the FDA. Gottlieb added that the products that are currently available in the market will also see a round of testing.
Altria was the first to respond to FDA’s latest requirements. The company said it would remove MarkTen pod-based products and would stop selling flavored products.