The Trump administration has successfully delayed enforcement of a rule passed last year that would have extended the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s oversight over electronic cigarettes and cigars.
The delay was issued in response to a joint effort launched by the vaping and tobacco industries to roll back the FDA regulations that would have removed many of their products from the market. FDA officials say that the agency is postponing any deadline established under the final rule passed in May 2016 that extended the FDA’s authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, as well as hookah and pipe tobacco.
Delay ‘Part of Larger Plan’ Says Gottlieb
FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said the delay is part of a larger plan to reduce tobacco deaths in the U.S., as well as the part that electronic cigarettes might play in helping people to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. He went on to say that the FDA would encourage e-cigarette companies to talk to the agency about gaining approval of their product as aids to help people stop smoking, if that is their intent. The agency will also attempt to persuade companies to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco products to less addictive levels.
Numerous other public health officials have openly opposed the devices and say they are likely a gateway to nicotine addiction, leading to the smoking of traditional cigarettes. Gottlieb admitted concern about children’s use of e-cigarettes and said he would consider regulating the flavors added to e-liquid to appeal to young vapers, but also noted the potential benefits to traditional cigarette smokers offered by the devices, which deliver nicotine without burning tobacco.
Matthew L. Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, criticized the delay that e-cigarette and cigar companies will be given to comply with previously released rules, saying that the delay will “allow egregious, kid-friendly cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush, and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight.”