ASCO, together with 30 organizations, have sent a letter to President Obama asking for his leadership in giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate e-cigarettes and other currently unregulated tobacco products.
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) gave the FDA immediate authority over cigarettes, smokeless, and roll-your-own tobacco. It also authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to deem other tobacco products subject to FDA’s jurisdiction.
In 2014, the FDA proposed a rule to extend its authority over all unregulated tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco, nicotine gels, and dissolvable nicotine products. In response, ASCO and others requested FDA issue its final rule by April 25, 2015, 1 year from the date the agency issued the proposed rule. Unfortunately, that deadline was not met.
Until the regulation is finalized and implemented, there is no federal oversight of these tobacco products. There are no restrictions in place to protect public health against the risks these products pose, particularly to the health of children. ASCO and the other organizations hope this letter will encourage the Obama administration to take swift action in finalizing and implementing these regulations.
In the absence of regulation, the organizations have seen irresponsible marketing of unregulated products such as cigars and electronic cigarettes, often using tactics and sweet flavors that clearly appeal to youth. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report highlights the dramatic increase in e-cigarette use by minors.
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