The Imperial Brands subsidiary, Fontem Ventures, has said that it is ready to work with the FDA to further strengthen its ‘youth access prevention policies and procedures’.
The company was responding to a statement from the US Food and Drug Administration issued on Wednesday in which it gave electronic-cigarette manufacturers accounting for 97 percent of the US market 60 days to submit plans describing how they intend to address what the FDA sees as the widespread use of their products by young people.
Fontem Ventures said it strongly believed that e-vapor products such as blu and myblu were to be used only by adult smokers. ‘Minors should not use any tobacco or nicotine products, and we fully support and advocate for both legislation prohibiting sales of vaping products to minors and the ongoing FDA enforcement action against retailers selling e-vapor and other tobacco products to minors,’ the company said in a statement posted on its website on September 13.
‘We are evaluating today’s [Wednesday’s] request and statement from the FDA. On youth access, we have common aims. We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate, and work with the FDA to further strengthen, our youth access prevention policies and procedures. We will continue to work with regulators in the US and elsewhere to implement best practices in all our commercial activities.
‘Since 2009, blu has marketed e-vapor products to adult smokers in the US and around the world in a responsible manner. While youth smoking rates and use of combustible tobacco products have declined in the US, in line with trends in adult use, we fully understand and share current public concern about youth use of e-vapor products.’
Fontem Ventures said that marketing and advertising standards for blu ensured all communications were intended for, and presented to, adult audiences only. ‘We also take proactive measures to ensure responsible sales practices, both on our own online storefront and through third-party online and brick-and-mortar retail locations:
‘We conduct a thorough online age verification process via third party vendors Veratad and Experian, in addition to mandatory manual ID checks for anyone with a date of birth that shows them to be under 27.
‘We monitor all transactions for evidence of fraudulent activity, unauthorized wholesaling, or sales by proxy where products could potentially reach non-adult users.
‘We require a commitment from vape store partners to prohibit underage access.
‘We require retail partners’ compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
‘We conduct post-market surveillance to flag any concerning demographic trends.’
Fontem Ventures said it looked forward to working with FDA to address this critical issue.