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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Several lawmakers are asking the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to step up its review of tobacco deeming regulations.
The proposed regulations, which the Food and Drug Administration released in April 2014, landed on OMB's collective desk two weeks ago, as CSNews Online previously reported.
In a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan, Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pressed OMB to complete its review of a long-overdue rule to regulate electronic cigarettes and other forms of tobacco as quickly as possible.
"In the six years since the passage of the Tobacco Control Act, tobacco and e-cigarette companies have had time to develop new, innovative products, many with candy and fruit flavors, to attract and ultimately addict America's youth," the senators wrote. "It is critical that the administration take swift and immediate action to finalize the tobacco deeming rule in order to reduce tobacco's harmful effects on public health, and especially the health of America's youth."
In the letter, the legislators also urged OMB to ensure that the final rule includes strong regulations to help prevent youth tobacco use and other harmful effects, including a minimum age standard; limits on advertising; health warnings on the products; bans on the use of flavorings and marketing that appeals to children; and mandating child-proof packaging of e-liquids to protect young children from accidental nicotine poisoning.
Additionally, they urge the administration not to grandfather products such as e-cigarettes from reviews to determine whether they constitute threats to public health.