By MATTHEW PERRONE – AP Health Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. regulators will soon begin cracking down on vaping companies using a now-closed loophole, including a line of fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that have become the first choice of the teenagers.
Under a law that took effect Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration can regulate e-cigarettes and similar products that use synthetic nicotine.
The action targets Puff Bar and several other vaping companies that recently switched their formulas to lab-made nicotine to avoid FDA oversight.
The change “allows the FDA to protect public health from harm from tobacco products, regardless of the source of nicotine,” the agency said in a statement Wednesday. Companies must register with the FDA and submit their products for review within 30 days.
Puff Bar did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The FDA action does not automatically ban Puff Bar and similar products. Instead, it puts them under the same regulatory scheme as older e-cigarettes that derive their nicotine from tobacco.
“Synthetic nicotine products don’t necessarily go away on their own,” said Robin Koval, executive director of the Truth Initiative, an advocacy group that runs anti-tobacco ads. “The FDA will have to decide how it wants to enforce the law, and hopefully it will.”