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 Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response 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 Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLive coverage: FBI chief, Justice IG testify on critical report Hugh Hewitt to Trump: 'It is 100 percent wrong to separate border-crossing families' Opioid treatment plans must include a trauma-informed approach MORE (D-Ill.), Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law MORE (D-Iowa), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyLawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars Trump taps Hill veteran for White House environment job Dems unveil push to secure state voting systems MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump surprises with consumer agency pick On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump nominates budget official Kraninger for consumer chief | Senate votes to block Trump ZTE deal | Stocks fall on trade tensions | House panel moves to markup budget Dems must stop picking foxes to guard the financial hen house 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.”