With E-Cigarette Use on the Rise, Durbin & Blumenthal Demand FDA Action

New data released from CDC shows that high school e-cigarette use has risen 1000% in four years

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today released the following statements in response to findings from the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey showing that a record 3 million U.S. teenagers used e-cigarettes over the last year. The data released today shows that e-cigarette use among middle and high school students, which surpassed cigarettes last year as the most commonly used tobacco product, continues to grow: between 2011 and 2015, e-cigarette use rose from 1.5 percent to 16.0 percent among high school students and from 0.6 percent to 5.3 percent among middle school students.


“While the OMB drags its feet on finalizing commonsense regulations to protect children and teenagers from the dangers of e-cigarettes, the number of young people getting hooked on this potentially deadly habit continues to grow,” Durbin said. “Every day without strong regulatory action on e-cigarettes is another opportunity for Big Tobacco to peddle its newest product unchecked.”


“As we have seen time and time again, youth e-cigarette use continues to explode, creating a public health crisis that threatens to lead to a new generation of nicotine addicts,” Blumenthal said. “This survey shows a record high number of young people using e-cigarettes in 2015 and is a telling example of what can happen when federal regulators sit back and do nothing. Proposed regulations have inexplicably languished within federal agencies for nearly two years, allowing these insidious tobacco products to freely invade our schools. It is high time that federal regulators stop their deadly delays and start protecting our nation’s most vulnerable citizens from the consequences of tobacco.”


In 2015 alone, a record 3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes, and for the second year in a row, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used form of tobacco among teens. The release of this survey comes shortly before the two year anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a proposed deeming rule to allow FDA to regulate new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah, pipe tobacco and other products.


Congress gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco products more than six years ago, when Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in June 2009. However, it took until April 2014 for FDA to issue draft “deeming” rules that would bring e-cigarettes, cigars, and other forms of tobacco products under the FDA’s jurisdiction, and in the two years since, the rules still have not been finalized. As youth e-cigarette use has skyrocketed, the Senators have repeatedly pressed the administration to finalize the rules in a timely fashion.