Udall On FDA’s Proposal To Limit Sales Of E-Cigs

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the budget for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has released the following statement after the FDA proposed plans to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes, and e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs subsequently announced that it would take steps to curtail sales of its flavored products in retail stores.
The FDA’s proposal and JUUL Labs’ announcement comes after mounting public pressure in response to a surge in vaping using e-cigarettes among youth.
Udall has helped lead efforts in Congress to protect children from the potential dangers of e-cigarettes. In October, Udall and his colleagues called on the FDA to take stronger action to reduce youth use of addictive e-cigarettes by immediately requiring manufacturers to remove kid-appealing flavored e-cigarettes from the market.
In April, Udall and his colleagues wrote to both the FDA and JUUL Labs about the growing vaping abuse crisis among youth. In the letter to JUUL, Udall and his colleagues demanded answers from JUUL regarding its marketing toward youth, including its use of social media to appeal to kids. In the letter to the FDA, Udall and his colleagues wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb calling for swift action to ban e-cigarettes that use candy and fruit flavorings, which are particularly appealing to children. In June, they wrote again demanding answers from the FDA on the agency’s enforcement of current tobacco regulations and urging it to reconsider its decision to push back e-cigarette regulation. Additionally, in a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Udall pressed Commissioner Gottlieb about the steps the FDA is taking to protect kids and families from the possible hazards associated with e-cigarettes.
“Today’s announcement from the FDA curbing the sale of flavored e-cigarettes is an important step in the right direction. For too long, e-cigarette manufacturers have been given free rein to entice kids with sweet flavors, fueling addiction and increasing the risk of cigarette use. As a result, we’ve seen vaping among young people reach truly alarming proportions. With today’s proposal, the FDA has taken a positive first step toward combatting the popularity of these harmful products among our youth.
“Flavors like ‘cotton candy,’ ‘tutti frutti,’ and ‘creme’ belong in a candy store – not masking chemicals that could damage our kids’ lungs. Going forward, we must continue to prevent e-cigarette manufacturers from appealing to kids and exposing them to the potentially harmful health effects of vaping, and demand transparency from manufacturers about the dangers of inhaling vapor from e-cigarettes, which could contain carcinogens and other toxins. Our children deserve to be protected from a lifetime of nicotine addiction, and I’ll continue pushing for strong action to safeguard the public health and safety of New Mexico families and communities.”
In recent years, the popularity of e-cigarettes among youth has skyrocketed as manufacturers marketed their potentially dangerous products to kids through the use of sweet flavors. More than two million middle and high-schoolers are using e-cigarettes today, with 81 percent of kids who have ever tried an e-cigarette starting with a flavored product. The problem is even more acute in New Mexico, where 51.5 percent of New Mexican teens have used e-cigarettes—higher than the 42.2 percent of teens nationally who had used the devices.