Health groups push FDA not to repeal e-cig rules

Health groups push FDA not to repeal e-cig rules
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Health groups are lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to keep in place e-cigarette regulations as Republicans press the administration for a repeal. 

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and 50 other health groups wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price this week asking him to defend and fully implement the rules finalized under former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaDefense hawks gird for budget brawl Emanuel: Dreamers ‘part of the Chicago family’ Obama visits Prince Harry at Kensington Palace MORE.

"The public health justification for regulation is as compelling now as it was a year ago, when the FDA issued the final deeming rule," the health groups wrote.

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"There is, therefore, no basis for reconsideration of the rule or a failure to defend it strongly in court.”

The FDA announced it is delaying enforcement of the rule by three months to give the new administration time to consider the rule, which is also being challenged in court. 

But the health groups claim there is no legal or policy reason to delay implementation of any provision of the deeming rule or to reconsider the government’s strong legal defense of the rule.

“According to the [Justice Department], the recent ‘explosion in virtually unregulated e-cigarette products raises significant public health concerns,’ ” the groups wrote.

“These concerns include the growing prevalence of e-cigarette use among youth, their addictiveness due to nicotine delivery comparable to conventional cigarettes, the toxicity of nicotine and its significant risk of adverse effects on pregnant women and the still developing adolescent brain, the divergence of actual nicotine content from labeled content, the inhalation risks of certain e-liquid ingredients, including certain flavorings, the risk of battery explosion and resulting injury, and the potential harm to nonusers of secondhand aerosol containing nicotine.”

Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonOvernight Healthcare: Senate GOP to start writing its healthcare bill Senate staff to draft health bill during recess Divisions emerge in the Senate on pre-existing conditions MORE (R-Wis.) asked newly minted FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a letter this week to consider repealing the rule given industry claims that the rule’s product approval requirements are too expensive.