WASHINGTON, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a critically important step – although long overdue and still too limited – to improve the health of our nation by commencing the formal rulemaking process to bring additional tobacco products under its jurisdiction. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) gave the FDA authority to immediately regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, smokeless tobacco products, and roll-your-own tobacco. But even though other combustible tobacco products also present great dangers to both individual and public health, the FDA was required to take additional steps before it could regulate them. These include rapidly emerging products which particularly appeal to youth such as little cigars and hookah. Rules were also required to include e-cigarettes which have virtually exploded upon the market without any limitations on their marketing and sale, or oversight of their safety or ingredients, including separately sold vials of "nicotine juice."
We applaud the FDA's action to take this necessary first step to regulate electronic cigarettes, little cigars, cigarillos and hookah. However, we're concerned that these rulemaking proposals may fail to include premium cigars which would not adequately respond to the recent call to action by the US Surgeon General to quickly end the use of all combusted tobacco products. We are also concerned that the regulations do not immediately ban candy flavored little cigars that are highly appealing to youth, women, and low socio-economic populations. We are also disappointed to see no restriction on these same candy flavors in e-cigarettes.
We welcome the FDA's decision to immediately begin the process for issuing regulations to extend the prohibition of marketing practices like free samples, vending machine sales, and outdoor advertising to all tobacco products and restricting sales of all tobacco products to those under 18.
According to Robin Koval, President and CEO of Legacy, "We welcome this important first step in the proposed regulations and plan to be active participants in the public comment period in an effort to ensure their rapid implementation. Little cigars and hookah are every bit as addictive and dangerous as cigarettes and it is essential that they be subject to the same regulations.
While the evidence is mounting that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible forms of tobacco and may provide real benefits for adults who want to quit smoking, they have no business being used by or marketed to young people. With the rise in reports of poisoning, it is also essential that common-sense manufacturing and sales standards be imposed immediately." She added, "But at the same time, we are deeply disappointed that the regulations do not remove candy-flavored tobacco products and we will strongly urge the FDA to move immediately to take these products off the market. We will also continue to push FDA to take the full steps necessary steps to ban all marketing with significant appeal or reach to youth."
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.
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