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May 13, 2022

FDA Authorizes Yet More Unpopular Vuse Products

With a court-ordered report due next Monday on its progress reviewing marketing applications for the most popular vape products, the FDA has authorized yet more products that few people use.

The agency issued Marketing Granted Orders to Reynolds American (RAI) for its Vuse Vibe and Ciro e-cigarettes, along with tobacco-flavored refills. Vuse is the brand name used by RAI—formerly known as RJ Reynolds (and now a subsidiary of British American Tobacco)—for all of its vapor products.

The Vuse products authorized Thursday are:

  • 2 Vuse Vibe Power Units
  • Vuse Vibe Tank (Original flavor, 3.0% nicotine)
  • 2 Vuse Ciro Power Units
  • Vuse Ciro Cartridge (Original flavor, 1.5% nicotine)

The Vuse Vibe is an eGo-style vape pen that uses two-milliliter capacity, non-refillable tanks. Vibe refills are available only in 3.0 percent (30 mg/mL) nicotine strength. The Vuse Ciro is a cigalike style vape that uses small 0.9 mL tank-style refill cartridges (rather than the typical cartomizers) in 1.5 percent (15 mg/mL) nicotine strength. Both products use nicotine salt-based e-liquid.

The FDA has been ordered by a federal judge to produce status reports on its progress reviewing PMTAs for the most popular brands of vaping products, including Vuse.

Menthol-flavored Vice and Ciro refills remain under review, while the FDA wrestles with how to handle menthol vapes in light of its plan to ban menthol cigarettes. The agency issued Marketing Denial Orders (MDOs) for other Vuse flavors, as it has for previously authorized vape products. The FDA hasn’t authorized any products in flavors other than tobacco. Last August, the agency announced a new standard for flavored products—nearly a year after the deadline for submitting PMTAs.

The FDA has still not acted on Premarket Tobacco Applications (PMTAs) submitted by RAI for the Vuse Alto, a pod-based device nearly as popular as Juul Labs’ JUUL. Combined, the Alto and JUUL currently make up about 70 percent of the convenience store/gas station segment of the vape product market.

The FDA has been ordered by a federal judge to produce status reports on its progress reviewing PMTAs for the most popular brands of vaping products, including Vuse. The first report is due next Monday, and there had been some speculation that the agency would announce decisions on some of the best-selling products before that deadline. The Vuse Vibe and Ciro, however, are not popular products.

The FDA has not authorized any products from small independent manufacturers, most of whom have received boilerplate MDOs, and have been forced out of business or are challenging the agency in court.

American Vapor Manufacturers Association (AVM) President Amanda Wheeler said in a statement that “small and mid-sized businesses are being willfully strangled out of the market by FDA’s neo-prohibition policy.”

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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