Obama Administration Too Slow to Grant FDA Authority Over E-Cigarettes: Report

The Obama Administration has been too slow in granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over e-cigarettes, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

In a new report, “State of Tobacco Control 2016,” the association urged the administration to swiftly finalize the regulation that would give the FDA authority over all tobacco products, MedPage Today reports.

The regulation is expected to be made public in the next few weeks, the article notes. Thomas A. Carr, ALA Director of National Policy, said the five-year wait for the regulation has been frustrating. “At the state level we saw some promising action on tobacco taxes last year, but other than that, 2015 was another year of policymakers just not doing what they needed to do to combat tobacco use,” he said.

The association is also asking the federal government to issue standards for the design and content of tobacco products. The group hopes menthol cigarettes will be banned, according to ALA spokeswoman Erika Sward. She said it has been almost five years since the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee recommended the removal of menthol cigarettes from the marketplace, but no action has taken place. “The committee recognized that menthol cigarettes were more dangerous for smoking initiation,” she said.

“We know what works to reduce tobacco use across the nation and on the state level: tobacco prevention programs funded at [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]-recommended levels, comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws, high tobacco taxes and full and unfettered access to all treatments proven to help tobacco users quit,” Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, said in a news release. “What our state and local leaders lack is the political will to implement these proven policies.”