Groups Call for Rule on Regulation of Tobacco Products, Including E-Cigarettes

Thirty health groups are urging President Obama to issue a final rule that would let the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, The Hill reports.

The rule was first proposed almost two years ago. Groups including the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote a letter to the president, saying they have seen an irresponsible marketing of e-cigarettes and cigars geared toward youth. As a result, e-cigarette use tripled between 2013 and 2014 among high school students, from 4.5 percent to 13.4 percent. E-cigarette use rose from 1.1 percent to 3.9 percent among middle school students.

“When you signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law in 2009, FDA finally was given the tools to significantly reduce the 480,000 deaths caused by tobacco products each year and the $170 billion in healthcare costs attributable to treating tobacco-caused disease,” they wrote. “Yet it is now seven years since the statute was enacted and your administration has yet to assert its regulatory authority over all tobacco products.”

“Your administration’s delay in finalizing this regulation has been so great that Congress finally stepped in to address the dramatic increase in poisonings involving liquid nicotine containers for e-cigarettes by enacting legislation to give the Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to require manufacturers to use childproof packaging for liquid nicotine rather than wait for FDA to respond to this public health concern,” they wrote. “The fact that Congress took this action speaks volumes about the level of frustration over FDA’s failure to act in a timely manner to protect children.”

An FDA spokesman said last week he did not have an update on when the final rule will be issued, the article notes.