• July 8, 2020

US FDA finalizes PMTA guidance for vapor products

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized its guidance for manufacturers submitting new tobacco product applications through the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as e-cigarettes or “vapes,” and the liquid nicotine and nicotine-containing e-liquids used with such products, as part of the agency’s continued commitment to its oversight of tobacco products, according to a statement from the FDA.

“The FDA’s ongoing oversight of e-cigarettes and other ENDS products is critical to our public health mission and, especially, to protecting kids from the dangers of nicotine and tobacco-related disease and death. The FDA is committed to providing a solid, science-based regulatory foundation to ensure that ENDS products authorized for marketing are appropriate for the protection of public health,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. “The final guidance issued today provides companies seeking to market e-cigarette and ENDS products with recommendations to consider as they prepare a premarket tobacco product application to help the FDA evaluate the public health benefits and harms of a product. There are no authorized e-cigarettes currently on the market and we encourage companies to use this valuable document now as a guide to submit applications. At the same time, the public can be assured that the FDA has been and will continue to take all necessary actions to protect children as part of our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, including maintaining our focus on enforcement actions and policies aimed at ensuring e-cigarettes aren’t being marketed to, sold to or used by kids.”

Following an extensive review of input from the public on the previous draft guidance, the guidance issued today further clarifies the PMTA process for ENDS products and the FDA’s current thinking about information the agency recommends applicants include in a PMTA submission for ENDS products, according to the release. Importantly, it also includes recommendations for how applicants should address public health issues in the design and manufacture of their products, such as accidental nicotine exposure and battery safety.

For example, the agency is recommending that manufacturers provide information describing the kind of packaging their product will be sold in to mitigate the risk of accidental exposure to e-liquids, such as child-resistant, exposure-limiting packaging or nicotine exposure warnings on labels, the release states.

Additionally, to enable the FDA to assess the risks of a battery to be used in a particular product, the agency is also recommending that applications include, among other things, information on: amperage, voltage, wattage, battery type (chemistry), whether the battery is consumer-replaceable, testing certificates for any voluntary electrical standards for the battery or device—including UL 8139, the recently published, first-ever standard specifically for ENDS products—and under- or over-voltage protections, as well as plans for addressing the likelihood of use and foreseeable misuse leading to overheating, fire and explosion during operation, charging, storage and transportation for distribution, according to the release.

The guidance also includes recommendations for constituent or chemical testing, applying existing scientific literature or analyses about similar products to the proposed new tobacco product, including multiple distinct products in a single submission and referencing tobacco product master files, according to the release.