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FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios

The Food and Drug Administration is considering a ban on the online sale of e-cigarettes, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said at an Axios News Shapers event this morning. New limits on flavored products are also on the table, he said; the agency will release new data about teen vaping and announce its next steps in November.

Why it matters: Gottlieb has consistently said e-cigarettes can be a safer option for adults who smoke cigarettes, but that the products are "too appealing" and "too accessible" to children and teens. Regulations to ban or at least curb online sales or flavored products could come soon, Gottlieb said today.

  • The FDA in November also is planning to release new e-cig usage data, which will show that year-over-year usage among high schoolers has risen by at least 80% (. It also will detail middle-school usage increases, which is lower than the high school figure but still quite high.
  • The vaping companies aren't tipping their hands, but expect them to suggest tech-based age verification solutions for both point-of-sale and online purchases. But it would be impossible for them to guarantee either one — the former because they can't really control a retail counter, and the latter because they can't effectively stop online resale. So it's really a question of what level of "proof" Gottlieb is really going to require to stem what he today termed a "public health emergency."
  • NJoy, an early e-cig company that went bankrupt in 2016 after having been valued at around $1.2 billion by private investors like Fidelity, just raised $49 million in new equity funding, per an SEC filing. Unclear if there are any new investors beyond Homewood Capital, which bought NJoy out of bankruptcy, but there is a new CEO whose last job appears to have been running a Los Angeles-area landscaping company.

Go deeper

China deems all cryptocurrency transactions illegal

A person walking past China's central bank in Beijing in August 2007. Photo: Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty Images

China's central bank declared on Friday that all cryptocurrencies are illegal, banning crypto-related transactions and cryptocurrency mining, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: China's government is now following through with its goal of cracking down on unofficial virtual currencies, which it has said are a financial, social and national security risk and a contributor to global warming.

Biden's big bet backfires

Two key dealmakers — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — leave a luncheon in the Capitol yesterday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

President Biden bit off too much, too fast in trying to ram through what would be the largest social expansion in American history, top Democrats privately say.

Why it matters: At the time Biden proposed it, he had his mind set on a transformational accomplishment that would put him in the pantheon of FDR and JFK.

Biden sinks in swing districts

Photo: Biden speaks about wild fires and climate change in Sacramento on September 13, 2021. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/ AFP via Getty Images

Sudden doubts about President Biden's competence — on Afghanistan, immigration and COVID — are driving double-digit drops in his approval in private polling in swing House seats, The Cook Political Report's Amy Walter writes.

Why it matters: "[T]hese early mistakes go directly to the very rationale of his presidency; that it would be low drama and high competence."