FDA sends e-cigarette regs to White House for review

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent its final rule to regulate additional tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars, for White House review.

The rule, which was first proposed more than a year ago, was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on Monday, but it could be weeks before the rule is actually released.

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FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said the Office of Management and Budget is required to review all significant regulatory actions and has 90 calendar days to do so.

“However, this timeframe can be extended to allow for additional interagency discussion,” he said. “At this time, the FDA cannot provide any further comment until the final rule is published.”

The American Lung Association is hoping for an expedited review.

“We remain deeply troubled that it’s taken 18 months from the time the proposal was released to now,” said Erika Sward, the group’s assistant vice president of national advocacy. “We need to move forward in protecting kids and public heath.”

Sward said the lung association is hoping the final rule will give FDA the authority to truly regulate all tobacco products. Under the proposed rule, she said, there was a loophole for certain “premium” cigars.

“There’s no such thing as a safe tobacco product and certainly not a safe cigar,” she said. “FDA needs to have the basic authority over all tobacco products to make sure kids aren’t buying them and warning labels are required.”