WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Thirteen U.S. Congress members have joined together and are taking their plea to limit electronic cigarette marketing and distribution exposure to underage consumers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"While FDA's proposed rule sets the stage for future regulations, strong regulatory actions on marketing to children, e-cigarette flavors and online sales cannot wait. FDA has an existing mechanism to protect children now -- without waiting years to implement new regulations to accomplish these goals," the legislators wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
The letter, which was sent Monday, is signed by U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as well as U.S. Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).
In April, the FDA proposed regulations for e-cigarettes as part of a pending deeming rule that would expand the agency's authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, as CSNews Online previously reported. The agency is gathering public comments on its proposal through Friday.
As the deadline nears, the congressional members are asking the agency to exercise its existing authority and apply the restrictions imposed on traditional tobacco products to limit youth access to e-cigarettes, including a ban on flavors, marketing to children and online sales.
According to the legislators, the agency can use its authority over new tobacco products to place restrictions on the sale and marketing of new products. The letter calls on the FDA to exercise this authority and restrict access to e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices that are marketed to young consumers.