How The White House Saved Flavored E-Cigarettes From The FDA

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

A White House ensured flavored e-cigarettes were not subjected to prohibition by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The original language contained in the FDA’s “deeming” regulations would’ve banned flavored e-cigarettes until they were authorized by the agency, according to an edited version of the document, reports Reuters.

The regulations announced May 5 extended the FDA’s authority to regulate tobacco, e-cigarettes and a host of other products. As part of the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, all e-cigarette products released after Feb. 15, 2007, (predicate date) have to go through the Pre-Market Tobacco Applications process (PMTA). (RELATED: FDA Announces Rule To Ban 99 Percent Of E-Cigarettes)

Manufacturers have a period of up to two years to submit their applications, which can cost millions of dollars and take hundreds of hours of paperwork. The original proposal submitted by the FDA to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave just 180 days for flavored products to submit a PMTA.

The FDA acknowledged its rule would ban numerous flavored products and would yank products off the shelves within 180 days of publication “and that this will significantly impact the availability of flavored tobacco products at least in the short term.”

The FDA has been under intense pressure from public health activists to ban the products outright. They claim flavored vapor products target children.

But the OMB decided to scrap the FDA’s original policy. A White House spokeswoman, Emily Cain, told Reuters the OMB “does not comment on changes made during the interagency review process.” The FDA also refused to comment.

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