April 29, 2014

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Cities move well past Obama's FDA to regulate ecigs: New York and Chicago laws take effect today

After years of inaction, just last week, the Obama Administration finally let the FDA issue its long-awaited (and disappointing) proposal to "deem' that it had authority to regulate e-cigarettes as well as cigars and other tobacco products.
The FDA’s proposed rule is weak -- and it is only a proposal.  It will likely be years, if ever, before it takes effect.
And, aside from restricting in person (but not internet) sales of e-cigarettes to minors, it does not offer any of the common sense protections recently passed by City Councils in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and other cities. 
New York and Chicago's laws went into effect today.
For example, Chicago requires e-cigarettes to be put behind the counter, out of the reach of children.  The FDA did not. 
Through licensing, Chicago limited the type of retailers who can sell these products.  The FDA did not.
Chicago has prohibited the sale flavored e-cigarettes, which come in dozens of kid-friendly flavors like cotton candy and bubble gum, near schools.  The FDA did not.
The FDA did not even attempt to restrict advertising of e-cigarettes to kids.  Even if the FDA’s proposed rule takes effect, advertising addictive e-cigarettes to kids will still be completely legal.
And the FDA can never protect people from secondhand eciagrette aerosol because it does not have jurisdiction over the issue.
Today is yet another example of how it is local (and, to a lesser extent, state governments that are moving to protect the public against Big Tobacco.  That is where we should be putting our energy.



And speaking of local initiatives... the Public Health Advocacy Institute will be holding a symposium September 19 - 20 at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston about tobacco endgame strategies.  My favorite among them, which the FSPTCA clearly authorizes, is the Tobacco Free Generation. TFG2000 (one example of it) would prevent the sales of tobacco products to anyone born on or after the year 2000.  It could be adopted at the local or state levels.  To test whether it makes sense, try asking parents at what age they would like their kids to start smoking!
Dick Daynard

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