The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to reject flavored e-cigarettes. The move is seen as a major victory for the agency and public health advocates who have long argued that flavored e-cigarettes appeal to young people and put them at greater risk of nicotine addiction.
The lawsuit stemmed from the FDA’s decision to reject applications from four e-cigarette manufacturers, including Juul Labs, for flavored e-cigarettes such as menthol, mint, and blueberry. The companies had filed a lawsuit challenging the authority of the FDA to reject their applications.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had previously upheld the FDA’s authority in the case, a decision that was also supported by an appeals court. The Supreme Court was asked to review the ruling but declined to do so, effectively ending the lawsuit.
The Supreme Court’s decision does not address the underlying issue of whether flavored e-cigarettes are in fact a danger to public health, but it is a strong sign of support for the authority of the FDA to reject applications for flavored e-cigarettes that could put young people at risk.
Public health advocates praised the decision. “The original decision by the FDA to reject flavored e-cigarettes was a pivotal moment in the struggle to protect our youth from a potentially dangerous product,” said Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “Today’s action by the Supreme Court is a major victory in the fight to keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of kids.”
The decision to reject flavored e-cigarettes came as part of the FDA’s efforts to curb the surge in youth vaping. The FDA has also sought to limit the amount of nicotine in cigarettes and impose other regulations on the industry.
The FDA is in the process of finalizing a rule that would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations. The agency has also said it is working to overhaul online sales of e-cigarettes in an effort to further restrict access to youth.
The Supreme Court’s decision in this case is a stark reminder of the importance of the FDA in protecting public health. The agency’s authority to reject applications for flavored e-cigarettes and impose restrictions on the industry is a key tool in the effort to reduce youth vaping and protect the health of young people.