Lawmakers Move to Ease Proposed FDA Tobacco Regulation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee approved a spending bill Thursday that would prevent the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from requiring pre-market reviews of electronic cigarettes already on the market.

According to The Associated Press, under a broader FDA deeming rule that would regulate e-cigarettes for the first time, brands marketed since 2007 would need to undergo pre-market reviews retroactively. Companies would need to submit an application within two years of passage of the bill, and the FDA would subsequently determine if the product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.”

In addition to e-cigarettes, the legislation would also apply to other unregulated products such as cigars, hookahs, nicotine gels, water pipe tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products, reported the AP.

The subcommittee, led by Republicans, hopes to ease this restriction, with the reasoning that it would drive many e-cigarette companies out of business. Alabama Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt, who sponsored the bill, said the provision is just a technical change. He added that newer products will remain under FDA oversight.  

In addition, the new proposal would not affect the FDA's attempt to ban the sales of the products to minors.

On the other side of the ledger, several Democrats have stated easing this rule could lead to many unsafe products on the market, which could become a large public health concern as e-cigarette use is rising exponentially.

The bill "is nothing short of a giveaway to the tobacco industry," New York Rep. Nita Lowey, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, told the news outlet.

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