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Azim Chowdhury Quoted in a C-Store Dive Article on Declining Vaping Sales in Convenience Stores

Keller and Heckman Partner Azim Chowdhury was quoted in the C-Store Dive article, “Vaping won’t save c-stores from falling tobacco sales.” The article indicates that sales for tobacco products, and e-cigarette products in particular, have been declining in the last few years, as the e-cigarette industry and retailers work to comply with regulations. The article also highlights that flavors in vaping products are continuing to be scrutinized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On this issue, Azim pointed out that the youth usage of flavor vaping products has gone down since 2019 “when we saw an initial spike in youth experimentation of these products.”

FDA has denied over 99% of applications for e-cigarette products, and so far has not authorized any non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes. According to Azim, the extremely high bar the FDA has established for these products makes it unlikely the agency will ever authorize a non-tobacco flavored vape product – or any recreational (non-therapeutic) nicotine product. A company would have to show that their non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette product is significantly more effective at cessation than its tobacco-flavored variety, but according to Azim, “we don’t know where that line is drawn — 50% more effective, 25%, 100%?”

Additionally, FDA wants to see companies prove each flavor is effective in reducing a person’s tobacco consumption, but it is rare anyone would consume just one flavor, commented Azim. “It’s the combination of all the flavors that helps [consumers] quit better than tobacco.” He also pointed out that if flavors are eliminated, “there’s a risk that the cigarette smoking rate will go up and people are less interested in converting.”

To read the full article, please click here.