June 2, 2016

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

White House ignores science linking flavors and kid use of ecigs and other products; prioritizes business over kids health

Given how many years any new rule takes, the FDA should take the 17 pages OMB deleted from the deeming rule and issue that as a new rule right now.  You can read the changes the White House made from what the FDA wanted to do here.
 
Here is the TFK press release on the subject, which I completely support.
 
White House Missed Opportunity to Protect Kids by Deleting Provision to Remove Flavored E-Cigarettes and Cigars from the Market
 
May. 31 2016
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On May 5, the Obama Administration issued a long-awaited rule extending Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars. On May 27, the Administration published a “redline” version of the rule showing changes made by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after the FDA submitted the rule to OMB for final review. In a key change, OMB deleted a provision that would have removed flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah and other newly regulated products from the market by November 2016. This provision would have included menthol-flavored products.
 
The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
 
It is deeply disappointing that the White House missed this opportunity to protect our nation’s children by deleting this provision to remove candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and cigars from the market. It is inexplicable that OMB did so given the overwhelming scientific evidence the FDA provided to support removing these kid-friendly products from the market and the compelling case the FDA made. No reason was given for the White House’s decision to ignore the scientific evidence about the impact of flavored cigars and e-cigarettes on youth. Given the weight of the evidence cited by the FDA, it is difficult to imagine a public health justification for the White House decision.
 
The FDA’s version of the rule sent to OMB provided 17 pages of scientific evidence to support removing flavored products from the market, concluding that these products should be removed “given the attractiveness of flavors, especially to youth and young adults, and the impact flavored tobacco products may have on youth initiation” (pages 167-183). The FDA’s section headings show exactly why the White House should have supported this provision, detailing that “flavors make tobacco products easier to use and increase their appeal among new users,” “millions of youth use flavored tobacco products,” “dramatic rise and continued youth and young adult use of tobacco products that are often flavored,” and “youth and young adult tobacco users are more likely to use flavored tobacco products than adult tobacco users.” The FDA also found that “some chemical flavorings in newly deemed products contain toxic compounds.”
 
Given this evidence that flavored tobacco products are luring young people into nicotine addiction, the FDA and the White House should immediately issue a follow-up rule to do exactly what the FDA proposed and remove all flavored tobacco products from the market. When the FDA issued its rule on May 5, the agency said it planned to engage in additional rule-making to extend the current ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes to include flavored cigars. The FDA must move forward immediately, and its proposal must be strengthened to include e-cigarettes and end the use of menthol in all tobacco products.
 
The FDA’s evidence shows that flavors play a key role in the popularity of e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products among young people. Research conducted by FDA, published in an October 2015 study in JAMA, found that most youth, ages 12-17, who had ever experimented with tobacco started with a flavored product, including 81 percent of youth who had ever used e-cigarettes. In addition, 85.3 percent of current youth e-cigarette users had used a flavored e-cigarette in the past month, and 81.5 percent of current youth e-cigarette users said they used e-cigarettes “because they come in flavors I like.”
 
According to the government’s 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) released last month, there was a 10-fold increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students between 2011 and 2015 – from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. E-cigarettes are now by far the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. In 2015, a record-high 3 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes – compared to 1.6 million who smoked cigarettes.
 
While much attention has been focused on e-cigarettes, youth use of cigars is also a serious problem. According to the 2015 NYTS, high school boys now smoke cigars at a slightly higher rate than cigarettes – 11.5 percent for cigars and 10.7 percent for cigarettes. In 2015, 1.4 million youth smoked cigars.

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