Dems push fast action on e-cigarettes

More than a dozen congressional Democrats urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Monday to move forward immediately on efforts to keep electronic cigarettes out of the mouths of children.

The agency is currently working on a formal rule to bring the burgeoning e-cigarette industry under its regulatory authority, a move that will ban sales to minors and add other restrictions to the products.

ADVERTISEMENT
But a final rule could be months away, and there are steps the FDA could take now to crack down on an industry accused of luring young smokers with glossy ads and candy flavors, the lawmakers say.

"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,” they wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. “FDA has an existing mechanism to protect children now — without waiting years to implement new regulations to accomplish these goals."

E-cigarette company executives testified in June that they are not marketing their wares to children.

Lawmakers responded with incredulity to the assertion, pointing to the use of cartoons and celebrities in advertisements, as well as flavors that include cotton candy, Jolly Rancher and Kool-Aid-themed choices.

Now, the lawmakers are pressing Hamburg to move without delay on a formal ban prohibiting all sales of e-cigarettes to minors, the use of flavors and online sales.

Signing the letter were Democratic Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerDem suggests race factored into Obama Senate endorsement Obama, Biden back Kamala Harris in Calif. Senate race Tim Scott says he was targeted by Capitol Police MORE (Calif.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDNC event calendar Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability MORE (Ill.), Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (Iowa), Jay RockefellerJay RockefellerLobbying world Overnight Tech: Senators place holds on FCC commissioner Overnight Tech: Senate panel to vote on Dem FCC commissioner MORE (W.Va.), Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Congress sends first major opioid bill to Obama's desk Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle MORE (Conn.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyFCC chief pushes phone companies to offer free robocall blocking Markey floats bill bringing internet to developing world Overnight Tech: First on The Hill – Key senators team up against robocalls | Social media giants back revenge porn bill | Facebook's diversity numbers MORE (Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownClinton looks to expand electoral map Clinton VP pick could face liberal ire Why Kaine is the right choice for Clinton MORE (Ohio), Jack ReedJack ReedDems to GOP: Admit Trump is 'unfit' to be president Armed Services leaders encouraged after first conference meeting US urges China to be calm in wake of South China Sea ruling MORE (R.I.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyEmphasis on diversity in Democratic convention lineup Clinton VP pick could face liberal ire NBA pulls All-Star Game from NC over bathroom law MORE (Ore.), and Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinHotel lobby cheers scrutiny on Airbnb GOP platform attempts middle ground on encryption debate Week ahead: Encryption fight poised to heat up MORE (Calif.), along with Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (Calif.), Frank Pallone (N.J.) and Diana DeGette (Colo.).