Senate Dems want crackdown on e-cigs

Half a dozen Senate Democrats called Monday on a pair of federal agencies to go after electronic cigarette companies that claim their wares can help smokers quit.

The Food and Drug Administration is readying regulations that would bring the burgeoning e-cigarette industry under its supervision, though a proposed rule has sat under review at the White House since October, and it's unclear how soon it would be issued.

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In the meantime, lawmakers say, the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission can use existing authority to reprimand e-cigarette manufacturers who make unsubstantiated or false claims in their advertising.

Led by Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerFeinstein to hold campaign fundraisers, a hint she'll run again Becerra formally nominated for Calif. attorney general 10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress MORE (D-Calif.), the senators single out NEwhere electronic cigarettes, which proclaimed, "Quit Smoking with Electronic Cigarettes” on the their website.

“We believe that you can and should act immediately to crack down on these false and deceptive claims by e-cigarette manufacturers,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to FTC Commissioner Edith Ramirez.

A similar letter was sent to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

Other signatories on the missives include Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Buying that new-used car: Congress must put safety first Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick MORE (D-Conn.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinJustice requires higher standard than Sessions Warren burns Mnuchin over failure to disclose assets Trump Treasury pick to defend foreclosure record MORE (D-Ill.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (D-Iowa), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBuying that new-used car: Congress must put safety first Overnight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing Senate Dems want Trump to withdraw from Pacific trade deal MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownMajor progressive group unveils first 2018 Senate endorsements Congressional leaders unite to protect consumers Mnuchin weathers stormy confirmation hearing MORE (D-Ohio).

The appeal follows proposed legislation that would empower the FTC to prohibit marketing e-cigarettes to children. 



Currently, the $1 billion-plus e-cigarette industry is mostly unregulated at the federal level. Public health advocates and some lawmakers, however, are calling on the FDA to bring the industry under its supervision via authority granted to the agency by the 2009 Tobacco Control Act.

“We recognize that the FDA has been working to regulate these products,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter sent Monday. “However, the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research does not need this regulation or any new authority in order to investigate companies making unsubstantiated and potentially false therapeutic claims.”