In 2016 the Food and Drug Administration brought electronic cigarettes, cigars and hookah under their definition of tobacco products. Those products that were on the market when the rule went into effect in 2016 had to undergo review in 2018. It meant that e-cigarettes had to provide notice if a list of chemicals were in their products. That deadline has been extended to 2022 for e-cigs, and in the meantime millions of kids and adults are using vaping products without knowing the potentially harmful chemicals in them. Now a group of public health advocates and pediatricians are suing the FDA over their deadline extension.
According to the FDA the reason for the delay would give them time to “explore better measures to make tobacco products less toxic, appealing and addictive.” But it seems that the manufacturers are the ones who are benefiting from this delay while the health of users, mainly our youth, will be suffering.
Those suing the FDA include the big three American health advocates – the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, and American Lung Association. Others include Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Truth Initiative, American Academy of Pediatrics Democracy Forward and individual pediatricians. Those who filed the suit claim “the agency abdicated and rewrote its responsibilities granted under the Tobacco Control Act,” and didn’t ask for public input like they have in the past.
The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, one of those who filed suit, mentioned the popular Juul brand e-cigarette and the serious problem of kids using these products with no regulation. While some states have age regulations on e-cigarettes, identification checks are lacking. There are also no warning labels, or ingredient lists on these products. And since the manufacturers need approval to sell products that weren’t on the product before August 6, 2018, the market is being flooded to get products out before the cutoff.
The FDA plans on seeking to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes, and while that is good, they are missing all the other things flowing around them. The slow stream of tobacco products from the 1900s is being replaced with such a flood of new products, flavors and technology in the past 10 years alone, the FDA is barely able to tread water to keep their nose above the wave. We need to protect our youth from the dangers that are here now and in the future. The storm is here and it is almost too late.
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