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Senate Democrats Applaud FDA E-Cigarette Prohibition


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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Democratic senators are applauding new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that could crush the e-cigarette industry and ban 99 percent of vapor products.

Sen. [crscore]Patty Murray[/crscore], the leading Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with 16 other Senate Democrats, wrote to the FDA Wednesday congratulating the agency on its almost 500-page rule book regulating e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco.

“We commend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for finalizing the deeming rule that extends FDA regulatory authority to include all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco, to protect the public’s health—and especially the health of the youngest Americans—from the harmful effects of tobacco,” the senators wrote in their letter to the agency.

The regulation that most concerns the e-cigarette industry is the so-called “predicate date” of Feb. 17, 2007. All vapor products that came on the market after this date, which is almost all of them, will have to go through the notoriously onerous and expensive Pre-Market Tobacco Application process (PMTA).

PMTA’s can cost millions of dollars per product and around 1,700 hours of paperwork. Industry experts and the FDA’s own analysis from 2014 estimate 99 percent of products on the market won’t even be put through this process and will be taken off the market within two years.

The senators accuse the e-cigarette industry of marketing to children, potentially creating a new generation of smokers.

“It is unacceptable that tobacco companies are once again targeting children using the same tactics they once used to promote cigarettes. For this reason, we recognize this rule as an important step to prevent the youngest Americans from becoming a new generation of smokers and are committed to continue working together to swiftly ensure, through the product application process and other means, that children are fully protected from these harmful marketing and flavoring tactics for all tobacco products now subject to FDA’s regulatory authority,” the letter reads.

No evidence was cited in the letter as to how e-cigarettes are being marketed to children or were acting as a gateway to tobacco smoking.

A 200-page report by the UK’s Royal College of Physicians, released April 27, concluded there is no evidence of a “gateway” effect from vaping to smoking. (RELATED: Game Changer: World Leading Medical Group Backs E-Cigarettes)

The list of senators  who also signed the letter include: Senators [crscore]Richard Blumenthal[/crscore] (D-CT), [crscore]Barbara Boxer[/crscore] (D-CA), [crscore]Sherrod Brown[/crscore] (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), [crscore]Dianne Feinstein[/crscore] (D-CA), [crscore]Al Franken[/crscore] (D-MN), [crscore]Kirsten Gillibrand[/crscore] (D-NY), [crscore]Patrick Leahy[/crscore] (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), [crscore]Jeff Merkley[/crscore] (D-OR), [crscore]Jack Reed[/crscore] (D-RI), [crscore]Brian Schatz[/crscore] (D-HI), [crscore]Charles Schumer[/crscore] (D-NY), [crscore]Tom Udall[/crscore] (D-NM), [crscore]Elizabeth Warren[/crscore] (D-MA), and [crscore]Sheldon Whitehouse[/crscore] (D-RI).

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