Health groups urge Congress not to weaken e-cigarette rules

Health groups urge Congress not to weaken e-cigarette rules
© Getty Images

Public health and medical groups are urging Congress not to weaken the Food and Drug Administration's ability to regulate cigars and electronic cigarettes in an upcoming government spending bill.

Fifty-three groups signed letters this week asking the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees to vote down any continuing resolution to fund that government that includes tobacco-related riders approved by the House Appropriations Committee.

ADVERTISEMENT

One provision blocks the FDA from using funds to “implement, administer, or enforce” its final rule unless the rule excludes “large and premium cigars” from agency oversight. The second provision exempts e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products now on the market from having to retroactively apply for FDA approval.

“The need for FDA oversight of these products could not be clearer,” said the letters from the groups, including the American Lung Association, March of Dimes and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“There has been an alarming increase in youth use of electronic cigarettes with 16 percent of high school students currently using e-cigarettes.”

Industry groups claim the new rules, which took effect Aug 8, will wipe out their industry if every product that’s been on the market since Feb. 15, 2007, is forced to go through a costly approval process.