Altria pulls e-cigarette pods from market after FDA calls underage usage an ‘epidemic’
RICHMOND, Va. – Weeks after the US Food and Drug Administration called underage use of e-vapor products an epidemic, Altria Group Inc. has announced they are removing their pod-based products from the market.
Last month, the FDA took ‘historic action’ against retailers and manufacturers, including Altria, to provide plans to mitigate underage use of e-vapor products.
“The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. It’s simply not tolerable,” said FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb.
The Richmond-based company announced their steps during a third quarter earnings report.
“Altria welcomed FDA’s action and recently met with FDA Commissioner Gottlieb to discuss actions that could be taken,” the company wrote in the report.
Altria announced their subsidiary Nu Mark will remove several pod-based products from the market until they receive a market order from the FDA or the youth issue is otherwise addressed.
Those products include MarkTen Elite and Apex by MarkTen.
“Based on publicly-available information from FDA and others, we believe pod-based products significantly contribute to the rise in youth use of e-vapor products,” said Altria Chairman Howard Willard wrote. “We don’t believe our products are the issue, but we don’t want to risk contributing to the problem.”
In addition to their pod-based products, Altria has also agreed to pull exotic flavors from the market and only sell tobacco, menthol and mint varieties.
Altria says they also support federal legislation to establish 21 as the minimum age to purchase any tobacco product.
“We believe now is the time. FDA is calling underage e-vapor use an epidemic. Today, the number one-way kids get tobacco products is through social access, meaning the purchase of tobacco products by someone of legal age for use by minors,” said Chairman Willard.
“Raising the minimum age nationally to 21 should go a long way to solving that problem. Addressing the alarming rise in youth use of e-vapor is important if we want policymakers to more fully support the idea of giving adults greater access to and information about less harmful products.,” he added.
To read Altria’s full letter to FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, click here.