Protecting public health

  • world view
- The New York Times

Apr 20, 2017-

As smokers turned to electronic cigarettes, big tobacco companies started buying e-cigarette makers and producing and selling their own. Now those companies are lobbying Congress to prevent the FDA from regulating electronic cigarettes and cigars, as it does conventional cigarettes. While promoters of e-cigarettes and e-cigars say they can help people quit conventional tobacco products, there is not a lot of evidence for that claim. After years of deliberation, the F.D.A. said last May that it would begin regulating the manufacturing, sale, packaging and advertising of e-cigarettes, and all tobacco products, under a 2009 federal law that authorized it to do so. The tobacco lobby wants Republicans to amend a vital appropriations bill to exempt products that were introduced before May 2016 from F.D.A. review. The push to undermine the F.D.A.’s authority began even before the agency had finished its rule. One Republican lawmaker introduced a bill in 2015 that was identical to a draft circulated by the Altria Group. In addition to its legislative effort, the industry has also filed several lawsuits in federal courts challenging the rule.

Tobacco companies complain that the F.D.A.’s rule amounts to “retroactive” regulation because many of the e-cigarettes and e-cigars it will regulate have been on the market for years. But the industry has known for years that government officials were developing this rule. Large bipartisan majorities in Congress voted in 2009 to hand the agency the authority to evaluate and approve new tobacco products introduced on or after Feb. 15, 2007. The F.D.A. is simply doing its job by protecting public health.

Published: 20-04-2017 08:36

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