OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan coalition, urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect public health and address the youth vaping crisis by banning the sale of synthetic nicotine products. Synthetic nicotine products, which are often marketed as “tobacco-free,” have become increasingly popular in recent years as manufacturers attempt to evade increasing FDA regulation of e-cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products. In today’s letter, the coalition urges the FDA to use its recently clarified authority to deny authorization for all synthetic nicotine products, or at a minimum, deny authorization for all flavored synthetic nicotine products.
“Synthetic nicotine products have become the new driver of the youth vaping crisis, with manufacturers using fun flavors and attractive marketing to addict a new generation to nicotine,” said Attorney General Bonta. “While synthetic nicotine products claim to be 'healthier' and 'safer' than traditional tobacco products, these products, particularly when flavored, can pose significant health risks. The FDA has the ability to protect public health by putting a stop to the sale of synthetic nicotine products. I urge the FDA to move swiftly before a new generation of teens starts vaping and smoking.”
Smoking is the number one preventable killer in the United States, resulting in more deaths than the number of people who die from alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murder, and suicides — combined. Every day, thousands of young people will use an e-cigarette for the first time, and many of those products will be flavored. The 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and FDA, found that one-tenth of high school students reported regularly using an e-cigarette. Of those students, the vast majority use a flavored product and around one-quarter reported that their go-to brand was the synthetic nicotine product Puff Bar.
In today's letter, a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general urge the FDA to ban the sale of all synthetic nicotine products given the known and unknown dangers these products pose to public health. These products, manufactured in a lab with little to no regulatory scrutiny, are being used to addict the next generation of smokers through appealing flavors and misleading health claims. At a minimum, the FDA must ban the sale of all flavored synthetic nicotine products and require manufacturers to submit evidence to back up their claims that these products can help people quit smoking and are healthier and safer than traditional tobacco use.
Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming in filing the comment letter.
A copy of the comment letter can be found here.