FDA faces mounting pressure to release final e-cigarette flavor policy

In a letter, a lawmaker is urging the US Food and Drug Administration to issue its compliance policy that would clear the market of...

Posted: Oct 23, 2019 11:30 AM

In a letter, a lawmaker is urging the US Food and Drug Administration to issue its compliance policy that would clear the market of unauthorized flavored e-cigarettes.

The letter follows President Donald Trump's September 11 announcement that the FDA would be putting out "some very strong recommendations" regarding the use of flavored e-cigarettes in "a couple of weeks."

When that announcement was made, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that it would take "several weeks" to put out final guidance on the policy, which would see "all flavored e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavor" removed from the market.

No policy has been announced yet.

"I urge you to put the flavor ban in place today before one more child gets hooked by flavored e-cigarettes. If you are unable to do that, then I request a briefing at your earliest convenience on the causes of the delay," Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, said in a letter on Monday to FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless.

"It has now been six weeks, but FDA has not issued the compliance policy. Each day that flavors are on the market is another day for kids to pick up their first e-cigarette and start a lifetime of nicotine addiction," Krishnamoorthi wrote.

In an email on Tuesday, an FDA spokesman said the agency will respond directly to Krishnamoorthi, that it intends to finalize its compliance policy "in the coming weeks" and that the FDA "plans to share more on the specific details of the plan and its implementation soon."‎

"The FDA remains committed to our oversight of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, and to keeping all tobacco products out of the hands of youth.

"We share the belief that all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should never be marketed to, sold to, or used by kids -- and we need to make every effort to prevent kids from getting hooked on nicotine. The companies making these products, the retailers selling them, and the online venues that help to fuel the teen popularity of, and access to, these products must redouble efforts to follow the law and not sell or market to kids."

Walmart has stopped selling e-cigarettes and several retailers have announced plans to restrict the sale of flavored vapes, with critics saying the flavors target young people and get youth hooked on nicotine.

Last week, leading e-cigarette company Juul Labs announced it would stop selling several flavored products in the United States, including its mango, creme, fruit and cucumber flavors. The company said it would continue to sell tobacco, mint and menthol pods in US retail locations, but Juul will "continue to review our policies and practices in advance of FDA's flavor guidance and have not made any final decisions," according to a Juul spokesperson. "We are refraining from lobbying the Administration on its draft flavor guidance and will fully support and comply with the final policy when effective."

Still, others said Juul didn't go far enough and urged the government to take action on flavors.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said "This announcement shows why the Trump Administration must stand up to pressure from Juul and Altria and move forward with its plan to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market, including mint and menthol -- as the Administration said it would do in its September 11 announcement."

American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown also said last week that "Congress and the administration should move forward without delay to remove all flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market."

Concern over e-cigarette use among young people -- and an outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries that has sickened more than 1,400 people and killed 33 -- has led to a backlash against vaping in the United States.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the majority of lung injury cases are linked to products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis -- but the exact cause of the outbreak remains unknown.

The CDC, FDA, state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are continuing to investigate the multistate outbreak.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
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