U.S. Senators Pen Letter Urging FDA to Combat Youth Use

Credit: Ekim

U.S. senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan joined a bipartisan group of their Senate colleagues in calling on the Food and Drug Administration to take long-overdue action to combat the youth vaping crisis, which includes steps that could remove kid-friendly, addictive e-cigarettes from the market.

The letter, which was signed by 13 additional legislators, including senators Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren, claims the FDA has not prioritized its review of e-cigarettes with the largest market share and “therefore greatest public health implication.” Instead, the agency has deferred its decisions on the most critical applications—including for those products that are most popular with youth—to the end, the Senators wrote to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf.

“Now that FDA is six months past the court deadline, these unreviewed products are only being permitted to stay on the market due to the agency exercising enforcement discretion. It makes no sense, and runs contrary to the Tobacco Control Act’s statutory framework, that products that have not been granted authorization are being allowed to stay on the market and attract new, young users,” the letter states.

“FDA has the authority and responsibility to halt this grace period today and restore the statutory burden of proof on manufacturers to demonstrate their product is ‘appropriate for the protection of public health’ prior to market entrance,” the Senators continued. “It is our hope and expectation that you can bring a new approach and commitment to using all of FDA’s tools and prioritizing public health to protect youth from the harms of tobacco and nicotine.”