Young people are flocking to e-cigarettes—and New Haven’s U.S. Congresswoman isn’t happy about it.
The Congresswoman, Rosa DeLauro (pictured), Thursday issued a release urging Congress to pass newly rules proposed by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to start regulating e-cigarettes. She singled out for praise a part of the proposal that would ban e-cig companies from selling to minors.
Click here to read the proposed rules.
U.S. Sen. Richard BLumenthal issued a release later Thursday calling the proposed rules “too little and too late.” He plans to hold a press conference Friday along with top docs at New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital to call for added measures “to protect youth from nicotine addiction.” The FDA proposals would ban sales to minors but not restrict youth-oriented marketing, Blumenthal said.
“Instead of comprehensive, robust rules the FDA has offered a loophole-ridden skeleton—timid and tepid in restricting relentless marketing of smoking to children,” Blumenthal stated. “For far too long the lack of effective regulation of tobacco products has been a gift to tobacco companies who continue to hook new generations of kids on tobacco products and create new addicts to make up for the hundreds of thousands who die each year from tobacco use. While FDA has finally taken preliminary action on the agency’s ability to regulate all tobacco products, the reality is that flavored cigars, nicotine candies, and e-cigarettes will all remain on the market as products that entice children and continue addiction until further action is taken.”
Some have embraced e-cigs—branded by DeLauro as “nefarious new nicotine distribution devices”—as a tool to weans smokers from more harmful conventional cigarettes. Others worry that the devices are hooking more people on nicotine—especially kids, to whom tobacco companies are marketing the products in flavors like chocolate and gummy bear. E-cigarettes have rapidly grown into a multibillion-dollar, unregulated industry.
On March 31 DeLauro sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging her agency to regulate e-cigs, battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid nicotine. DeLauro noted in her letter that an estimated 1.78 million-plus middle- and high-schoolers have tried e-cigs. “Many of the familiar, now illegal, practices by the tobacco industry have been resurrected in order to engage children in the e-cigarette market,” she wrote, cited prime-time TV ads featuring celebrities. Click here to read DeLauro’s letter.
DeLauro and Blumenthal also recently held a press conference in New Haven to oppose the spread of “e-hookahs.” Read about that here.