The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to issue “a partial stop work order” for the external companies that are carrying out product compliance checks and vape store inspections amid the new coronavirus spread in the country.
Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) director Mitch Zeller (pictured) said they are following the agency’s guidance, which also includes teleworking for all eligible employees.
“Although these inspections will cease immediately, administrative work can continue for two weeks, and the entire situation will be evaluated over the coming four weeks,” he said.
As ECigIntelligence reported a few months ago, the CTP carried out 800 inspections in vape stores between 2016 and 2018 – when the deeming regulations became effective.
The federal agency is considering “additional ways to conduct” these inspections, such as evaluating records instead of doing an onsite inspection.
It is not known if the CTP’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement (OCE) is carrying out the usual inspections of vaping websites to check that promotion, advertising, labelling and distribution is done according to the rules.
What This Means: The current public health crisis is affecting the day-to-day operations of all government agencies in the US, as well as around the world.
Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the FDA aims to use all the available tools in order to maintain its enforcement actions in the fields that they regulate, including tobacco products, as much as possible.
The federal agency has recently issued several warning letters to e-liquid retailers accused of selling to minors or labelling and/or advertising e-liquid products without the required nicotine warning statement.
– David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff