Dems push fast action on e-cigarettes

More than a dozen congressional Democrats urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Monday to move forward immediately on efforts to keep electronic cigarettes out of the mouths of children.

The agency is currently working on a formal rule to bring the burgeoning e-cigarette industry under its regulatory authority, a move that will ban sales to minors and add other restrictions to the products.

ADVERTISEMENT
But a final rule could be months away, and there are steps the FDA could take now to crack down on an industry accused of luring young smokers with glossy ads and candy flavors, the lawmakers say.

"While FDA's proposed rule sets the stage for future regulations, strong regulatory actions on marketing to children, e-cigarette flavors, and online sales cannot wait,” they wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “FDA has an existing mechanism to protect children now — without waiting years to implement new regulations to accomplish these goals."

E-cigarette company executives testified in June that they are not marketing their wares to children.

Lawmakers responded with incredulity to the assertion, pointing to the use of cartoons and celebrities in advertisements, as well as flavors that include cotton candy, Jolly Rancher and Kool-Aid-themed choices.

Now, the lawmakers are pressing Hamburg to move without delay on a formal ban prohibiting all sales of e-cigarettes to minors, the use of flavors and online sales.

Signing the letter were Democratic Sens. 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 (Calif.), Richard DurbinDick DurbinOPINION | DACA helps people achieve the American dream, don't take it away Immigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP 'Dreamers' deadline looms for Trump MORE (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 (Iowa), Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerOvernight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term Obama to preserve torture report in presidential papers MORE (W.Va.), Richard BlumenthalRichard (Dick) BlumenthalSenators push FTC to finalize changes to contact lens rule Trump rule change ignites safety debate Blumenthal: ‘No question’ evidence connects Manafort with criminal wrongdoing MORE (Conn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenate Dem: Trump has to stop ‘reckless’ language on North Korea Trump sparks debate over war resolution for North Korea Foreign Relations Dem: North Korea is the modern-day Cuban missile crisis MORE (Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Finance: House passes spending bill with border wall funds | Ryan drops border tax idea | Russia sanctions bill goes to Trump's desk | Dems grill bank regulator picks Dems grill Trump bank regulator nominees Senate Dems launch talkathon ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote MORE (Ohio), Jack ReedJack ReedTop Armed Services Dem: Trump's North Korea 'ad lib' not helpful Mattis warns North Korea of 'destruction of its people' Closing old military bases will help our defense — and our communities MORE (R.I.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyPresident Trump, listen to candidate Trump and keep Volcker Rule Senators push federal prisons to expand compassionate release Senate confirms Trump's new FBI director MORE (Ore.), and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinTrump's Democratic tax dilemma Feinstein: Trump immigration policies 'cruel and arbitrary' The Memo: Could Trump’s hard line work on North Korea? MORE (Calif.), along with Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (Calif.), Frank Pallone (N.J.) and Diana DeGette (Colo.).