Lawmaker Concerned with Rise of Synthetic Nicotine
Could Synthetic Nicotine be the next regulatory target of the U.S. government? A recent series of letters from Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) indicate there’s mounting interest in this new product category as more vapor companies begin to embrace it as a way to remain on the market following Marketing Denial Orders issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Rep. Krishnamoorthi, who serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent letters to both Puff Bar and Next Generation Labs over the issue of Synthetic Nicotine. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal in September 2021, Puff Bar has become the favorite e-cigarette among high school-aged vapers. At the time of the report, 30 percent of high school vapers reportedly used Puff Bar, followed by 11 percent who preferred Reynolds American Inc.’s Vuse brand, 10 percent who used Smok and just 6 percent who used JUUL.
The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy has monitored the growing popularity of Puff Bar since early 2020. In March 2020, the subcommittee alerted the FDA that Puff Bar was selling its flavored e-cigarette products without proper authorization. In June 2020, the subcommittee again alerted the FDA of Puff Bar’s business, this time questioning its advertising which they alleged appealed to middle and high school students. In July 2021, Puff Bar responded to these accusations by announcing that it was going to end all line sales and distribution in the U.S. “until further notice.” Days later, the FDA issued a warning letter to Puff Bar and called it to cease all sales of its products. Despite this warning letter, Puff Bar was still available on different websites, some of which the subcommittee determined to be owned and operated by Puff Bar’s owners.
Puff Bar was restructured in the summer of 2020 following a split between its shareholders where some wanted to shut down the company entirely and others that wanted to keep it going. In March 2021, the subcommittee alerted the FDA that Puff Bar had resumed sales after reformulating its products. The new Puff Bar products used Synthetic Nicotine rather than tobacco, a move done to avoid regulation.
“You have apparently made the vile decision to continue enriching yourselves by poisoning children,” writes Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “Puff Bar’s meteoric rise in popularity among kids resulted in $156 million in sales in 2020 alone. Puff Bar should not be allowed to continue harming children due to FDA’s failure to regulate Synthetic Nicotine, and I intend to put an end to your predatory practices.”
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