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Submit Tobacco Product Applications for Deemed Tobacco Products

Resources for Applicants Required to Submit by September 9, 2020

Applications for many e-cigarettes and other new deemed tobacco products that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016 were required to be submitted to FDA by Sept. 9, 2020. The deadline has now passed. If you have submitted an application and are looking for information on next steps, visit the “What Happens After I Submit the Application?” section on this page. If you are looking for information on FDA compliance and enforcement, visit the “Why Must I Comply?” section on this page.

On Sept. 9, 2021, CTP Director Mitch Zeller provided an update on FDA's progress on tobacco product application review and related enforcement.

This page was created as a compilation of information and resources for  those who prepared and submitted tobacco product applications for deemed products – that were on the market as of August 8, 2016 – in accordance with the September 9, 2020 submission due date. Although this deadline has passed, any company who wishes to introduce a new tobacco product onto the market must submit a premarket application – and receive authorization from FDA – before doing so. Accordingly, those planning to submit a premarket application to FDA may find some of the general information and resources on this page helpful as they prepare their application(s).

On this page:

When Do I Need to Submit an Application for a Tobacco Product?

All new (i.e. non-pre-existing) tobacco products are required to obtain premarket authorization. If you were marketing a deemed tobacco product that is new and that was on the market as of August 8, 2016, you were required to submit a marketing application by September 9, 2020 as required by the Court, and as set forth in CTP’s compliance policy (see exception for premium cigars). If you want to market a new tobacco product that was not on the market as of August 8, 2016, you will need to submit a marketing application and receive authorization before marketing the product.

Products on the market as of February 15, 2007 are considered pre-existing tobacco products. A pre-existing product is not a new tobacco product and does not require an application. Learn about your product’s potential pre-existing eligibility and submit a voluntary pre-existing determination request.  

A new tobacco product is:

  • Any tobacco product (including those products in test markets) that was not commercially marketed in the United States as of February 15, 2007; or
  • Any modification (including a change in design, any component, any part, or any constituent, including a smoke constituent, or in the content, delivery or form of nicotine, or any other additive or ingredient) of a tobacco product where the modified product was commercially marketed in the United States after February 15, 2007.

Determine the Appropriate Pathway to Legally Market a New Tobacco Product

In order to submit a tobacco product application, it is first necessary to determine which pathway to market and distribute a tobacco product is most appropriate

There are three pathways to legally market a new tobacco product: 

Each pathway page linked above includes information on how to prepare the application, as well as resources on the review process, previously issued order letters, review summaries, and other relevant resources for that type of application. In addition, we’ve highlighted some of the most important application resources for each pathway on this page under Tips and Resources for Tobacco Product Manufacturers below.

Application Tip

One approach to streamline PMTA submissions–which may be especially helpful to ENDS manufacturers with many e-liquid variations–could be to group applications for products from the same manufacturer or domestic importer, and in the same product category and subcategory, into a single submission.

See Grouped Submissions Resources below.

Tips and Resources for Tobacco Manufacturers

1. Premarket Tobacco Product Applications (most likely pathway for Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and e-liquids)

To date, no valid pre-existing ENDS product has been identified and all premarket applications for ENDS products received by the FDA have been through the PMTA pathway. Tips and resources to help prepare a PMTA are provided below.

2. Substantial Equivalence (SE) and Exemption from Substantial Equivalence (EX REQ) (most likely pathways for Cigars, Pipe Tobacco, Hookah Tobacco)

Manufacturers of cigars, hookah tobacco, or pipe tobacco who wish to market a new tobacco product that may be similar to a tobacco product that is pre-existing, or to one previously found to be substantially equivalent, can consider the SE and EX REQ pathways. Tips and resources to help prepare an SE Report or EX REQ are provided below.

Note: FDA expects that many cigars, hookah tobacco, and pipe tobacco products may be eligible for pre-existing status. Pre-existing tobacco products do not need to submit premarket applications to be legally marketed. Although a premarket application is not required, FDA encourages firms to voluntarily submit a standalone pre-existing submission. Learn about your product’s potential pre-existing eligibility and submit a voluntary pre-existing determination request.


How to Submit

To be timely submitted, applications for deemed new products on the market as of August 8, 2016 must have been received by CTP by September 9, 2020. Although it is not always required*, FDA recommends electronic submissions in order to more efficiently transmit and receive applications. Given the file size of many applications, as well as the possibility of the system slowing due to many simultaneous users, FDA strongly encouraged manufacturers to submit their applications ahead of the September 9, 2020 deadline. The Agency also encourages applicants who plan on submitting applications for a large number of products to contact the Agency to discuss their plans and method of submission.

*Requests for Exemption from Substantial Equivalence must be submitted electronically. If an applicant is unable to submit an application in electronic format, they may submit a written request to CTP explaining in detail why the applicant cannot submit the application in an electronic format and request an alternative format. The request must include an explanation of why an alternative format is necessary. All submissions, including requests to submit the information in an alternative format, application, and all supporting information must be legible and in the English language.

What Happens After I Submit the Application?

Once the application is submitted, the FDA review process consists of three phases: 

Review Process

FDA may contact the applicant at several points during the review process, such as at the end of the acceptance review, the end of the notification (SE and EX REQ) or filing (PMTA), during substantive review, or to inform the applicant of a positive or negative marketing decision.

*In addition to the above phases, the PMTA review process includes a Phase 4 (postmarket reporting) that requires applicants to establish and maintain records and make reports, as necessary, to determine or facilitate a determination of whether there may be grounds to withdraw or temporarily suspend a marketing granted order.

Details for each application review process and relevant outputs are available on the individual pathway pages: SE, EX REQ, and PMTA.

On February 16, 2021, CTP Director Mitch Zeller provided an update on FDA's progress on review of the timely submitted applications.

Why Must I Comply?

On August 8, 2016, all deemed tobacco products (except for accessories of deemed tobacco products), including ENDS, cigars, hookah (waterpipe) tobacco, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, and certain dissolvables became subject to the FDA’s tobacco authorities, including the premarket authorization requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

All deemed new tobacco products need to have authorization from the FDA to be legally marketed. However, as an exercise of its enforcement discretion, the agency had deferred enforcement of the premarket authorization requirements for certain deemed new products on the market as of August 8, 2016.

On February 6, 2020, FDA began prioritizing enforcement against certain illegally marketed ENDS products by focusing on the following groups of products that do not have premarket authorization:

  •  Any flavored, cartridge-based 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.

After September 9, 2020, FDA will be prioritizing enforcement against any ENDS product that continues to be sold and for which the agency has not received a product application. Additionally, based on several factors – including the likelihood of youth use or initiation – the FDA will make the best use of agency resources to enforce against any other deemed new tobacco product that does not have the required premarket authorization. New data, such as that from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), will also inform the FDA’s enforcement and other actions, and flavored disposable ENDS will now be an enforcement priority for the agency. However, as the result of court decision, the FDA will not be enforcing this requirement for “premium” cigars.

Companies that continue to manufacture, distribute, and sell unauthorized tobacco products risk FDA compliance and enforcement actions ranging from warning letters to injunction, seizure, and/or civil money penalty actions where warranted. Retailers and distributors are encouraged to communicate with their suppliers to discuss possible options for the unauthorized products in their inventory.

There are several requirements that a tobacco product manufacturer must fulfill in order to comply with the FDA’s tobacco regulations, including the premarket requirements. Learn more about manufacturer requirements, including other key submission dates.


Additional Resources

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