FDA Denies Marketing of Six Flavored Vuse Alto E-Cigarette Products Following Determination They Do Not Meet Public Health Standard
For Immediate Release: October 12, 2023
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company for six flavored e-cigarette products under its Vuse Alto brand. This includes three menthol-flavored and three mixed berry-flavored products, with each flavor being offered in three nicotine strengths. The company must not market or distribute these products in the United States or they risk FDA enforcement action. However, the company may submit new applications for the products that are subject to these MDOs.
The FDA evaluates premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) based on a public health standard that considers the risks and benefits of the product to the population as a whole. After reviewing the company’s PMTAs, the FDA determined that the applications lacked sufficient evidence to demonstrate that permitting marketing of the products would be appropriate for the protection of the public health, which is the standard legally required by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Specifically, evidence submitted by the applicant did not demonstrate that the menthol- and mixed berry-flavored products provided an added benefit for adults who smoke cigarettes—in terms of complete switching or significant smoking reduction—relative to that of tobacco-flavored products that is sufficient to outweigh the known risks to youth.
“We review each application on its own merits, and it’s the responsibility of the applicant to provide sufficient science to support the product they’re seeking to market,” said Matthew Farrelly, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Product’s Office of Science. “If an application contained sufficient scientific evidence to meet the necessary public health standard, including a non-tobacco-flavored product, we’d authorize the product. But such evidence was lacking in this case.”
Vuse is the most commonly sold e-cigarette brand in the U.S., with Vuse Alto being its most popular sub-brand. Further, findings from the National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show that Vuse e-cigarettes, which are cartridge-based products, have been the second most commonly reported e-cigarette brand used by youth in the U.S. since 2021.
Today’s actions are among many the FDA has taken to ensure any tobacco products that are marketed in the U.S. undergo science-based review and receive marketing authorizations by the agency. The FDA has received applications for more than 26 million deemed products and has made determinations on 99% of these applications.
“The Center for Tobacco Products continues to make meaningful progress in reviewing the unprecedented amount of premarket tobacco product applications that have been received,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “We’re committed to completing review of these applications as soon as possible while ensuring that they undergo a rigorous scientific review in accordance with the law.”
The products in today’s denial orders cannot be legally introduced into interstate commerce in the U.S. If the product is already on the market, it must be removed from the market or risk FDA enforcement. To date, the FDA has authorized 23 tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products and devices, which are the only e-cigarettes that currently may be lawfully sold or distributed in the U.S. These authorizations include other products under the Vuse brand, including tobacco-flavored Vuse Vibe and Vuse Ciro devices and accompanying cartridges. Applications for six tobacco-flavored Vuse Alto products remain under FDA review.