(Hartford, CT) – On Monday, April 28, in response to new draft Food and Drug Administration regulations prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Yale-New Haven Hospital doctors Ben Toll and Roy Herbst at Smilow Cancer Hospital to call for additional measures to protect youth from nicotine addiction.
The draft regulations would ban sales to minors, including through youth-accessible vending machines, but would not restrict marketing to youth, which Blumenthal has called for. Further, the regulations would require e-cigarette makers to report the contents of their products.
“These draft regulations are too late and too little. Instead of comprehensive, robust rules the FDA has offered a loophole-ridden skeleton-- timid and tepid in restricting relentless marketing of smoking to children. For far too long the lack of effective regulation of tobacco products has been a gift to tobacco companies who continue to hook new generations of kids on tobacco products and create new addicts to make up for the hundreds of thousands who die each year from tobacco use. While FDA has finally taken preliminary action on the agency’s ability to regulate all tobacco products, the reality is that flavored cigars, nicotine candies, and e-cigarettes will all remain on the market as products that entice children and continue addiction until further action is taken. I will do all I can to help push for a final rule and additional regulatory action so that there will finally be meaningful regulation of all tobacco products,” Blumenthal said.
Last week, Blumenthal joined ten other Democratic lawmakers in releasing a report that shows a dramatic recent increase in the marketing of electronic cigarettes with extensive resources being dedicated to social media, sponsorship of youth-oriented events, and television and radio advertisements that reach substantial youth audiences. The report, “Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth,” is the first comprehensive investigation of e-cigarette marketing tactics and was compiled using responses from eight e-cigarette manufacturers received by the lawmakers from their investigation into the industry and other publicly available information.
The report was released by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who was joined by U.S. Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee; U.S. Senator John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR); and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).
In February, Blumenthal, Boxer, Durbin, Harkin, Markey and Brown introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act to prohibit the marketing of e-cigarettes to children and teens. The bill has been endorsed by the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The bill has been introduced in the House by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5).