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 BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs 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 BlumenthalSenators push for enhanced powers to battle botnets Five things to know about Joe Lieberman Special counsel appointment gets bipartisan praise MORE (D-Conn.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinThe Hill's 12:30 Report Top House, Senate Dems ask Interior not to eliminate national monuments Dem senators accuse Trump of purposefully holding back information MORE (D-Ill.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinDistance education: Tumultuous today and yesterday Grassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream MORE (D-Iowa), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyTrump's steps on Iran show cooperation with Congress is possible FCC votes to advance net neutrality repeal Senate Dems appeal to 'everyone who uses the internet' on net neutrality roll back MORE (D-Mass.), and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownAuthor of Hillbilly Elegy encouraged to run for Senate: report Overnight Finance: Trump moves to begin NAFTA talks | Dems press Treasury chief on taxes, Dodd-Frank | Biz leaders want tax changes to be permanent Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank 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.”