Last year, the Food and Drug Administration told e-cigarette markers they would have to submit applications for the products they wanted to keep on the market.
Three months ago, the deadline came for the FDA to review those applications. As of late last week, 2% of those applications still have not been inspected.
While that number may seem small, some of the most popular e-cig brands are among that 2%.That includes products made by Juul, Vuse, Puff Bar and several other companies.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids looked into how many kids have bought products from those companies while the FDA reviews their applications.
"They're almost as widely available today as they have ever been," said Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "What that means is that our kids are being exposed today to highly flavored e-cigarettes, the same kind that fueled the youth e-cigarette epidemic all across the nation."
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids found more than 2 million middle school- and high school-aged students used e-cigarettes this year, with 85% saying they used a flavored product.
The FDA has denied the sale of more than a million flavored vaping products, and several cities and states have outlawed the sale of flavored vaping products.
However, many kids buy flavored products online from the companies that the FDA is still reviewing.
"Unfortunately, the e-cigarette manufacturers have sought to throw every obstacle in the way of the Food and Drug Administration, and it has slowed down the FDA. Already, 48 manufacturers have sued the FDA when their applications were denied. It's one of the reasons we're both encouraging FDA to move more quickly, but also encouraging states and localities to pass their own law banning flavored e-cigarettes," Myers said. "What we have seen is where localities have done so, they can make an even greater difference more rapidly."
An FDA spokesperson said that since September, the agency has issued warning letters to more than 40 e-cigarette or e-liquid makers for unlawfully marketing their products.
Puff Bar has found a way to sidestep FDA requests by using synthetic nicotine in its products instead of tobacco. An FDA spokesperson said the agency is "actively investigating this issue and considering how to best address such products."
Puff Bar did not respond to a request for comment.