Editorial: Senator Dick Durbin’s Message to the FDA: Vaping Targets Children


A woman is smoking an e-cigarette at Digital Ciggz in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

For American children, the Food and Drug Administration cannot deny the reality of today’s youth e-cigarette epidemic.

Last week, the FDA approved The first ever electronic cigarette RJ Reynolds Vuse Tobacco Flavored Vaping Device to Stay in the US Market. This ignores the FDA’s responsibility to regulate e-cigarettes for years, Product tsunami Illegal flooding of the market. Today, millions of children in the United States are targeted and engrossed by the tobacco and e-cigarette industry as a result of the FDA’s omissions.

This recent approval sounds a warning and may pave the way for other addictive products such as Juul and Puff Bar to remain on the market. It will be a dangerous decision for the future of American public health. This is the reason.

I am familiar with the Big Tobacco playbook. Their business model has been painfully clear for decades: making addictive products, lying about their health effects, and targeting children with advertising. Finally, when the public knows the truth, Big Tobacco seeks to reinvent with new “less harmful” and “state-of-the-art” nicotine products. E-cigarettes are the latest source of profit for the tobacco industry. Flavored products such as unicorn poops and gummy bears are exploding in popularity with children.in front Pandemic disruption of regular face-to-face school, More than 5 million children were smoking.

Naturally I like the old cigarette giant AltriaMarlboro Tobacco Maker is taking this opportunity to spend billions of dollars on new e-cigarette companies like Juul, addicting a new generation of customers. And Vuse, the second most popular brand among high school students, British American Tobacco RJ Reynolds — The same company that created the cartoon character Joe Camel many years ago to sell cigarettes to children.

The FDA considers the use of e-cigarettes by young people to be “fashionable.” Therefore, you would imagine that this public health agency will do everything in its power to end this “epidemic.”

By law, e-cigarette companies are required to prove to the FDA that their products are “appropriate for public health protection.” As one of the authors of the law, I know this is a high standard — the FDA needs to balance the risk of children getting hooked on these products with the potential benefits of adults quitting smoking. there is.

Child-friendly flavored e-cigarettes are not on the market. This is evidenced by its proven role as a deadly path to nicotine for children who would otherwise not have access to tobacco products. We also found that when agencies took half-hearted steps and left certain children’s flavors like menthol on the market, children were always drawn to those products. Therefore, it is appropriate that FDA regulators have so far rejected all applications using flavored products, and I commend them.

However, I am deeply concerned that the FDA ignores reality in the evaluation of e-cigarettes. In granting this recent approval to RJ Reynolds, the FDA said the Vuse brand is now more popular with children than the infamous Juul, and the nicotine concentration in the product is at levels banned in many other countries. I disregard the fact.

Instead, the FDA is willing to accept the unproven industry claim that Vuse e-cigarettes actually help adult smokers quit smoking. It’s also worrisome that, after all these years, the FDA believes that advertising restrictions will prevent young people from using it. There is no tobacco company — and certainly the heart behind Joe Camel — was not the responsible public administrator of the product.

There is clear evidence that all industry assumptions are smoke screens. 20% of high school students used e-cigarettes In 2020 compared to only 4% of adults. We also know that companies like Juul and RJ Reynolds have invested millions of dollars in flavors for children and sold their products to teens. The FDA must be aware of that reality as it considers decisions about Juul and other popular e-cigarette products in the coming days.

This issue is personal. My father smoked two packs of camels a day and died of lung cancer at the age of 53. I stood on the bedside of the hospital and was out of breath for the last time. The child does not have to experience such a thing. Believe me: If there is a product that can prevent his suffering, that’s all. However, e-cigarettes have failed to fully meet the alleged health benefits, causing far more problems than solved. It was a long time ago that the FDA acknowledged that fact.

This is a life-threatening challenge to the FDA’s legacy of tobacco. For the health of our children, the FDA cannot fail.

Senator Dick Durbin has been a Democrat on behalf of Illinois since 1997. He is the Leader of the United States Senate, the second highest ranked Democratic Senate member. Durbin is also chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the House Agricultural Committee.

Editorial: Senator Dick Durbin’s Message to the FDA: Vaping Targets Children

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