Durbin, Murkowski Statement On New FDA E-Cigarette Regulations

FDA’s announcement today makes many changes Durbin and Murkowski proposed in their bill, the SAFE Kids Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today released the following statement after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new regulations on e-cigarette flavorings and flavored cigars:

E-cigarette use among children and teenagers is an epidemic, just ask our federal health agencies or any school teacher in America.  The FDA is finally moving in the right direction by cracking down on the sale of kid-friendly flavors in e-cigarettes and cigars, and improving online age verification for sales of these addictive products – steps that we called for when we introduced the SAFE Kids Act this year.

The bottom line is this: it’s ludicrous to think flavors like bubble gum, cotton candy, or tutti fruitti are meant for adults. E-cigarette companies want to hook another generation of Americans onto a deadly and addictive product so they have a customer for life.  These flavors are the key to their callous business strategy, and they have no business being sold on the market.  The FDA’s actions today make clear that we won’t stand for manipulative marketing tactics, and that our children’s health and safety will always come first.

This year, Durbin and Murkowski introduced bipartisan legislation to crack down on kid-friendly flavorings in highly-addictive e-cigarettes and cigars. The bipartisan Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids (SAFE Kids) Act would place strong restrictions on e-cigarette flavorings and ban cigar flavorings altogether, and much of the FDA’s announcement today makes the changes Durbin and Murkowski proposed in their bill.  

In October, Durbin and Murkowski urged the FDA to immediately ban kid-friendly e-cigarette flavorings and restrict online sales of the addictive nicotine products.

In September, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb announced that his agency was taking three important steps to curb youth use of e-cigarettes, including sending letters to five leading e-cigarette manufacturers (including JUUL, which owns more than 70 percent of the market), requiring them to submit plans within 60 days detailing ways they will sharply curb sales to underage consumers.  If these plans do not promise to “substantially reverse” youth use, Dr. Gottlieb announced that FDA will consider temporarily or permanently ordering the removal of flavors from the market. Durbin has repeatedly raised concerns and pressed FDA about the decision in July 2017 to delay regulation of e-cigarettes from 2018 until 2022.