Regulation

End of summer marks missed deadline for e-cig rules, health group says

For the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the last day of summer marks another deadline missed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in issuing a final rule to regulate all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars.

In a statement Tuesday, the group's president, Matthew Myers, called the agency's continuing delay "inexcusable" with no sign that a final rule has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review, which would signal one is imminent.

"It has already taken the FDA and the administration far too long to act," he said. "The FDA announced its intention to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in April 2011, but did not issue a proposed rule until April 25, 2014."

Nearly 17 months later, Myers said, the agency has yet to issue a final rule, missing a published deadline of June 2015 and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell's stated goal of this summer.

In the interim, the group said e-cigarette use among middle and high school students has tripled in the last year and cigars use remains prevalent with high school boys, who are smoking cigars at about the same rate as cigarettes.

"The health and well-being of our nation's children are endangered by every additional day of inaction by the FDA and the administration," he said. "The time for regulation of all tobacco products is long past due."

The FDA has not said when a final rule will be issued.

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