Democrats Renew Press for Curbs on E-Cigarettes
Democrats are renewing efforts to protect children from the potential harm of electronic cigarettes, but the main event will come on the regulatory front if the Food and Drug Administration meets expectations and releases a final rule this year.
The agency issued a long-anticipated proposal last April to extend its authority to e-cigarettes and other unregulated products under a 2009 tobacco law. Some Democrats and public health advocates have insisted the proposed rule does not go far enough, however, and are pressing the agency to take additional action to protect young people.
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Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said he’s not expecting much on the legislative front before the final regulations come out, assuming that happens in a matter of months. Most of the outspoken critics of the fast-growing growing e-cigarette industry are Democrats in the minority in both chambers.Flavor and variety targets children?
The loudest criticism about the proposed rule from some Democrats and advocates may be that it doesn’t ban flavoring in e-cigarettes or marketing that could attract youth — though the FDA has said flavoring and advertising restrictions would require separate rule-making.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., introduced legislation before the proposal was released that would bar the products from being marketed in a way that would increase their use by children and her office said she plans to reintroduce it before the February recess. Connecticut Democrat Elizabeth Esty reintroduced a House version on Jan. 22.