Photo Courtesy of Groupon
According to a 2016 report, e-cigarettes are marketed by promoting flavors that appeal to youth—including candy, fruit flavorings, whipped cream, even juice—and that such marketing has resulted in increased use of tobacco products among children and teens.
By Forum Staff
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday urged outgoing U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to ensure a ban on kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors like candies, juices, fruits, cookies and more.
Schumer wants Gottlieb to secure the restriction before he resigns his FDA post at the end of March. New York’s senior senator also announced that he will demand a new nominee for the post pledge to continue Gottlieb’s unfinished business on e-cigs before they are confirmed.
Schumer cited new data that indicates that e-cig use among youth is “surging.” He wants Gottlieb to immediately: Finalize the ban of flavored e-cigarette products in convenience stores, where a majority of New York City and Long Island-area kids acquire their e-cigs and flavor pods; and once-and-for-all deem e-cigs as official tobacco products, a move that has been delayed for years, according to Schumer. The delay means that e-cig flavors have been able to stay on the market for years without a comprehensive review of their public health implications.
“Commissioner Gottlieb was bucking the trend of a lobbyist-friendly administration, and at my personal urging, led the charge to rein in e-cigarettes and the lengths they go to hook kids,” Schumer said. “This work must continue in his absence.”
The senator also pledged on Sunday that he will ask the next FDA commissioner-nominee to publicly declare that they will continue Gottlieb’s work on e-cigs before they are confirmed.
The current law on the books that the FDA should use to rein in e-cigs and curtail marketing to kids begins with the Tobacco Control Act, Schumer said. That law, which the senator helped to push and pass in 2009, provides the FDA with authority over tobacco-like products such as e-cigs. But the FDA has yet to use its authority to fully regulate e-cigarettes. Schumer, however, says the incremental steps taken during Gottlieb’s tenure—though critical and appreciated—have been a crawl when compared to the e-cig adoption craze among kids and more rapid action must be taken. The senator says the FDA must move faster to beat back the e-cig addiction trend among the teenage age group by banning kid-friendly flavors and marketing attempts that make liquid and chemically-laced nicotine look like an innocent—and delicious—food product.
According to a 2016 report conducted by the U.S. Surgeon General, e-cigarettes are marketed by promoting flavors that appeal to youth—including candy, fruit flavorings, whipped cream, even juice—and that such marketing has resulted in increased use of tobacco products among children and teens. Schumer said that when the FDA fully extends its regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, it will specifically acknowledge the harms posed to youth by flavored tobacco products. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than nine of every 10 young adult e-cigarette users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets. More than eight of every 10 youth ages 12-17 who use e-cigarettes said they use flavored e-cigarettes.