White House Weakened FDA Regulation of E-Cigarettes

Thursday, June 26, 2014
(AP Photo)

Efforts by federal health officials to regulate the sale of e-cigarettes have been undercut by the Obama White House, which amended new rules affecting tobacco products.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April proposed a series of regulations banning sales of e-cigarettes to individuals 17 and younger. The rules also restricted their sale through vending machines. The original language required sales to be “face-to-face,” which would have also banned online sales.

 

As part of the regulatory process, the changes were submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review to determine their economic impact on business. There, officials decided to weaken the restrictions on e-cigarette and cigar sales, changing the face-to-face rule to apply only to vending machines, according to Reuters.

 

It was unclear why certain portions of the rules were deleted, as the FDA refused to comment on the matter to the news service. “All comments will be carefully considered as the final rule is being developed,” FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Haliski said in an email. “As the science base continues to develop for these products, the agency has the ability to take additional regulatory actions designed to further minimize the public health burden of tobacco use in this country.”

 

The regulations on cigars were modified to exempt “premium” cigars, which troubled some public health advocates. “The part of the proposal we are deeply troubled by is the sweetheart deal for the cigar industry,” Erika Sward, assistant vice president for national advocacy at the American Lung Association, said.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

White House Weakened Draft of FDA's Proposed Tobacco Regulations (by Toni Clarke and Sharon Begley, Reuters)

E-Cigarette Makers Lure Young People by Using other Names for their Products(by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

$2-Billion E-Cigarette Industry Unleashes Lobbying Blitz to Limit Taxes and Regulation (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

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