NACS Provides Guidance on How C-store Operators Should Prepare for Feb. 6 Flavor Ban

vapor cartridges

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With the flavored vapor cartridge ban looming, NACS reminded convenience store retailers need to remove all cartridge-based electronic cigarette flavors, except menthol and tobacco, from the backbar by Feb. 6.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its new policy on unauthorized flavored cartridges and pod-based e-cigarettes and vapor products in early January. The new policy does not include e-liquids and disposable vapor products.

According to NACS, the agency's guidance only states that retailers cannot sell the products as of Feb. 6, and does not ban the possession of the products in stores. However, the association advises retailers to take steps to remove the banned products from their stores as soon as possible to prevent any inadvertent sales.

"Retailers should follow their own operational best practices for storing, handling and disposing of unsold stock that has been adulterated/recalled/banned or otherwise not permitted for sale," NACS said. "In general, products should not be in view of customers and should be packaged, sealed and secured within an area of the store or warehouse that the public cannot access until the products can be returned to the manufacturer."

To help alert customers to the policy change, NACS prepared a sign retailers can download and print for display. To download the sign, click here.

As the association noted, the FDA has said it "will make enforcement decisions on a case-by-case basis, recognizing that it is unable, as a practical matter, to take enforcement action against every illegally marketed tobacco product, and that it needs to make the best use of agency resources."

According to NACS, the agency added it will prioritize enforcement against:

  • Any flavored, pod-based or cartridge-based electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) product (other than a tobacco- or menthol-flavored ENDS product);
  • All other ENDS products for which the manufacturer has failed to take (or is failing to take) adequate measures to prevent minors' access; and
  • Any ENDS product that is targeted to minors or whose marketing is likely to promote use of ENDS by minors.