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In March, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance to effectively ban gas stations and convenience stores from selling most flavored electronic cigarettes and flavored cigars.  Retailers will be unable to sell flavored e-cigs other than tobacco, menthol or mint unless minors are restricted from entering the store or if those items are sold in a separate location in the store that minors are prohibited from entering.   However, the FDA will allow flavored e-cigarette products to be sold online and in vape shops. The FDA also will forbid the sale of all flavored cigars new on the market since February 2007.


The correct data on youth usage does not support the FDA’s action. In fact, the FDA’s 2016 Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study found that 86% of youths who had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days did not get them from a store – and of those who did get them from a store, 76% said they got them from a vape shop (stores that are supposedly adult-only). The CDC’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System found that 86.4% of students who used e-cigarettes did not get them from stores.

PMAA believes the FDA should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace. This ban on the sale of certain e-cigarette products in convenience stores but not online or in vape shops is an assault on the entire convenience store industry and should be stopped.


Due to the rapidly growing market for e-cigarettes, PMAA fully supports efforts by Senator Cornyn (R-TX) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) to amend the “Prevent all Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act)” through the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” (Bill number not available) to also include e-cigarettes in the definition that already includes cigarettes.  The PACT Act was enacted in 2010 to reduce underage purchases of cigarettes online and ensuring that online retailers pay state and local taxes on their sales of cigarettes. Specifically, the PACT requires internet sellers of cigarettes to ensure that delivery agents check identification in person on the delivery of cigarettes.  


Recently, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) introduced legislation called the “Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens (SCOTT Act)” (H.R. 2084) that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21 across all states and territories. Currently, 14 states and at least 450 localities have raised the legal age to purchase tobacco and e-cigarette products to 21.  The PMAA Board of Directors voted recently to not take a position on raising the federal tobacco buying age to 21 and will defer to each state association to develop its own position.

“THE ASK” All lawmakers

  • Ask your lawmakers to contact the Trump Administration and urge the administration to reject the FDA’s plan to ban convenience stores from legally selling flavored e-cigarette products.
  • Urge your lawmakers to support S, 1253, the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” to reduce underage purchases of e-cigarettes online and ensure that online retailers pay state and local taxes on their sales of e-cigarettes.