Durbin: FDA’s Weak Limits on E-Cigarettes Endanger Children

The proposed regulations would ban the sale of the products to minors, but they do not crack down on candy-flavored versions.

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Julia Boyle enjoys an electronic cigarette at the Vapor Shark store on February 20, 2014 in Miami, Florida. As the popularity of E- cigarettes continue to grow, leading U.S. tobacco companies such as Altria Group Inc. the maker of Marlboro cigarettes are annoucing plans to launch their own e-cigarettes as they start to pose a small but growing competitive threat to traditional smokes. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
National Journal
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
April 24, 2014, 7:27 a.m.

For the first time, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion has ex­ten­ded its to­bacco-over­sight au­thor­ity to e-ci­gar­ettes, ci­gars, and pipe to­bacco, but an­t­i­s­moking ad­voc­ates say the reg­u­la­tions don’t go far enough.

The FDA pro­posed Thursday a ban on the sale of e-ci­gar­ettes and oth­er newly reg­u­lated products to per­sons un­der 18. It also re­quired the products to carry warn­ing la­bels about the ad­dict­ive nature of nicot­ine. E-ci­gar­ettes, ci­gars, and pipe to­bacco would be treated like tra­di­tion­al com­bust­ible ci­gar­ettes un­der the new rules. E-ci­gar­ettes va­por­ize nicot­ine, dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tion­al com­bust­ible ci­gar­ettes which burn to­bacco, a pro­cess known to re­lease car­ci­no­gens.

Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Demo­crat who has been among those in Con­gress push­ing the FDA to reg­u­late the e-ci­gar­ette mar­ket, called the FDA’s an­nounce­ment “a polit­ic­al com­prom­ise” with the to­bacco in­dustry.

“Pro­hib­it­ing sales to kids but do­ing noth­ing to pro­tect chil­dren from candy-flavored mar­ket­ing in chil­dren’s ven­ues is an aw­ful out­come,” Durbin said in an email. “Par­ents across Amer­ica lost their best ally in pro­tect­ing their kids from this in­si­di­ous product.”

Al­though the agency has had the power to set guidelines for the e-ci­gar­ette mar­ket since 2009, when Con­gress passed the To­bacco Con­trol Act, years of meet­ings with in­dustry lob­by­ists and an­t­i­s­moking ad­voc­ates led to Thursday’s reg­u­la­tions, seen by many as a “first step” in de­term­in­ing just how the FDA should as­sert its power over the grow­ing e-ci­gar­ette in­dustry.

“There’s so much po­ten­tial for e-ci­gar­ettes to be safer,” said Dav­id Ab­rams, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Schroeder In­sti­tute for To­bacco Re­search and Policy Stud­ies at the Leg­acy Found­a­tion, an an­t­i­s­moking non­profit de­voted to to­bacco con­trol. “If people switch to good-qual­ity, reg­u­lated e-ci­gar­ettes, we could see a drop in the death and dis­ease rates caused by tra­di­tion­al com­bust­ible ci­gar­ettes.”

The new reg­u­la­tions set the stage for the FDA to be­gin test­ing products on the mar­ket to de­term­ine their im­pact on pub­lic health. They also al­low the FDA to mon­it­or for qual­ity con­trol the mar­ket that was once de­scribed by Com­mis­sion­er Mar­garet Ham­burg as the “Wild, Wild West.”

Makers would have to re­gister their products with the FDA and dis­close in­gredi­ents. New to­bacco products could only be mar­keted after FDA ap­prov­al. Claims of products hav­ing a re­duced risk of death and dis­ease could only be mar­keted with sci­entif­ic evid­ence.

“To­bacco-re­lated dis­ease and death is one of the most crit­ic­al pub­lic-health chal­lenges be­fore the FDA,” said Mitch Zeller, dir­ect­or of the FDA’s Cen­ter for To­bacco Products, in a press re­lease. “The pro­posed rule would give the FDA ad­di­tion­al tools to pro­tect the pub­lic health in today’s rap­idly evolving to­bacco mar­ket­place, in­clud­ing the re­view of new to­bacco products and their health-re­lated claims.”

The pro­posed rule sets in mo­tion a 75-day com­ment peri­od. Fi­nal reg­u­la­tions could take up to a year, an­t­i­s­moking ad­voc­ates say.

One in­dustry lobby group, the To­bacco Va­por Elec­tron­ic Ci­gar­ette As­so­ci­ation, said the FDA’s move will add ne­ces­sary over­sight to the e-ci­gar­ette mar­ket.

“This will help the in­dustry thrive as it will de­mand that those ir­re­spons­ible play­ers ad­here to rules and reg­u­la­tions that the re­spons­ible in­dustry already abides by,” the group wrote in a let­ter pos­ted on­line. “This will not just be­ne­fit the e-cig in­dustry but ul­ti­mately the end user, as they will now get a re­li­able and con­sist­ent product that has been man­u­fac­tured with the highest de­gree of over­sight and con­trol.”

But an­t­i­s­moking ad­voc­ates, while pleased that the FDA had as­ser­ted its au­thor­ity after a long wait, said what was miss­ing from the pro­pos­al was wor­ri­some.

The FDA did not pro­pose re­stric­tions on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion ad­vert­ising, or lim­it­a­tions on candy-flavored products, which rep­res­ent­at­ives from the Amer­ic­an Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Can­cer Ac­tion Net­work said were used by to­bacco com­pan­ies to hook youth.

“We think it’s crit­ic­al that the FDA move as quickly as pos­sible to ad­dress the ad­vert­ising strategies and the design of the products that are clearly de­signed to be at­tract­ive to kids,” said Gregg Haif­ley, AC­SCAN’s as­so­ci­ate dir­ect­or of fed­er­al re­la­tions.

The FDA also pro­posed ex­empt­ing premi­um ci­gars from over­sight.

“There are health con­sequences as­so­ci­ated with to­bacco products, and we don’t think any should be ex­empt from reg­u­la­tion by the FDA,” Haif­ley said.

What We're Following See More »
RESPONSE TO CHARLOTTESVILLE STATEMENTS
Jewish Groups Pull Out of Call with President
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Four prominent Jewish groups announced Wednesday that they would not take part in what has become a yearly call between the President and hundreds of rabbis across the country ahead of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in September. The groups specifically cited President Donald Trump’s statements following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12, saying in a statement that his remarks were 'so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year.'"

Source:
SEPTEMBER 12
Trump to Welcome Malaysia Prime Minister
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
FIRST LETTER OF PARAGRAPHS SPELL OUT “IMPEACH”
Science Advisor Resigns from Administration
6 hours ago
THE LATEST
PRESIDENT SISI TO STILL MEET
Egypt Cancels Kushner Meeting with Minister
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Egypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid. But President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would meet the U.S. delegation led by Kushner later in the day as scheduled, Sisi's office said." Washington decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delay $195 million.

Source:
“DISTURBING”
Clapper Questions Trump’s Fitness for Office
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last night questioned President Trump's fitness for office, following the president's angry speech in Arizona. Calling the president's performance "disturbing," Clapper said, "I really question his ability to be -- his fitness to be -- in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it," Clapper said on CNN. "How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?"

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login