Senate Dems urge HHS to give FDA authority to regulate e-cigarettes

Democratic Senators are urging the Department of Health and Human Services to finalize tobacco deeming regulations to give the Food and Drug Admnistration regulatory authoirty over all tobacco products including electronic cigarettes.

In a letter Wednesday, Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Trump, Dems open drug price talks | FDA warns against infusing young people's blood | Facebook under scrutiny over health data | Harris says Medicare for all isn't socialism On The Money: Smaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive | Dems question IRS on new tax forms | Warren rolls out universal child care proposal | Illinois governor signs bill for minimum wage Michelle Obama would be tied with Biden as frontrunner if she ran in 2020, poll shows MORE (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Trump praises law enforcement response to shooting at Illinois business MORE (D-Ill.), Jeffery Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators seek answers on surprise medical bills | Red states move to limit Medicaid expansion | Two drug companies agree to testify Senate Dems block Sasse measure meant to respond to Virginia bill MORE (D-Wash.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list Climate debate comes full circle MORE (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asked HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to finalize the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, proposed last April, before FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg steps down or within a year from the release date of the proposed rule.

“As it stands, e-cigarettes are being aggressively marketed to children and the use of e-cigarettes by minors has skyrocketed in recent years,” the letter said.  “Teen use of e-cigarettes now surpasses use of regular cigarettes according to recent data from the government-sponsored Monitoring the Future survey, with over 16 percent of 10th graders and over 17 percent of 12th graders reporting use of e-cigarettes during the past month. “

And since the number of calls to poison control for incidents involving the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes continues to rise, the lawmakers said the final deeming rules should require manufacturers to use child-proof packaging.

They also asked HHS not to change the grandfather date, saying that doing so would expose children and others to a host of new tobacco products that have not been subject to agency review.  

“Because of FDA’s delay in asserting its jurisdiction over other tobacco products, there are likely hundreds of e-cigarette products on the market today without any regulatory review of their consequences for public health,” the letter said.  “Grandfathering of these products would mean these products would never be subject to a review by FDA to determine whether they are appropriate to be sold, and essentially undermine consumer protections.”