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Attorneys General oppose effort to block FDA’s authority to review new tobacco products
July 7, 2015
(AUGUSTA) Attorney General Janet T. Mills (D) of Maine and Attorney General Gregg Zoeller (R) of Indiana are calling on Congress to reject a proposal to weaken the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) and to limit the Food and Drug Administration’s authority to review tobacco products available for sale in the United States. The proposal is in the form of a ‘rider’ on the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016.
As the Co-Chairs of the National Association Of Attorneys General, AG Mills and AG Zoeller wrote to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee to share their concerns with Section 747 of the Appropriations bill. The measure would grandfather products that entered the marketplace on or after February 15, 2007 – including the increasingly popular electronic cigarettes – and allow them to escape FDA review.
“Electronic cigarettes offer exotic flavors that appeal to youth, and youth usage of these nicotine products tripled from 2013 to 2014, ” the Attorneys General wrote. “Additionally, after the TCA prohibited flavored cigarettes, tobacco manufacturers began selling cheap, small, flavored cigars. These flavored cigars have contributed to an increase in youth usage of cigars. By changing the grandfather date to the effective date of the deeming regulations, Section 747 would exempt these newly deemed tobacco products from any product review, regardless of their impact on public health.”
The Attorneys General urged the members of the Committee on Appropriations to reject Section 747, stating they believed that the FDA had already accommodated tobacco industry concerns by allowing products to stay on the market until the FDA completed a product review and that a complete exemption from these important standards “could allow the continued sale of a dangerous product and undermine the public health of the nation.”
The Committee on Appropriations could take up the measure as soon as Wednesday, July 8.