FDA extends deadline for e-cigarette review due to coronavirus pandemic

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a four-month extension for electronic cigarette companies to submit their application materials regarding vaping products after the coronavirus pandemic has upended the companies' opportunity to gather research.

The FDA said Thursday that e-cigarette companies have until Sept. 9 to submit the necessary materials so the agency can do a review of thousands of e-cigarette devices and flavored solutions.

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FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in a statement that e-cigarette companies have reported problems completing their research for the premarket review for many e-cigarettes, cigars and other new tobacco products because of travel restrictions and limited laboratory access due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hahn also explained that many FDA staff who would have reviewed the applications are assisting with the pandemic response.

"This new deadline does not detract from our efforts to prioritize enforcement of certain e-cigarette products currently on the market," Hahn said in a statement. "Although the FDA’s in-person compliance checks and vape shop inspections are currently on hold due to the pandemic, review of previous inspections continues, and we continue to monitor the online marketplace and will take action as appropriate."

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Health advocacy groups have put pressure on the FDA to regulate the multibillion-dollar vaping industry after seeing a surge in underage vaping last year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.