Democratic members of the U.S. Senate asked the Food and Drug Administration to be more transparent about what e-cigarette and other tobacco products file marketing applications by September of this year.
Led by U.S. Sen Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, a group of 10 Democratic Senators sent a letter to the FDA outlining their requests.
In July 2019, a federal court ordered that e-cigarette companies, like JUUL, would until Sept. 9, 2020, to file marketing applications for products that had been marketing without the required authorization of the FDA.
The senators asked the FDA to provide a list of those products.
“We write to urge you to disclose to Congress and make available to the public a list of marketed e-cigarettes and other deemed tobacco products for which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives premarket applications by September 9, 2020,” the letter said. “Such a list would inform consumers and policymakers about the unauthorized e-cigarettes and other deemed tobacco products that FDA is permitting for distribution and sale after that date. It would also aid enforcement efforts to remove those unauthorized products that are not permitted for distribution and sale after that date. To fight the surging epidemic of youth tobacco use effectively and to hold tobacco companies accountable to following the law, we need transparency from the FDA.”
The letter urged the FDA not to delay reviewing the applications.
“Many of us have strongly criticized FDA’s decision to use its enforcement discretion to delay review of tobacco products, allowing e-cigarettes and many other new tobacco products to remain on the market without undergoing the premarket review required under the Tobacco Control Act,” the letter said. “This delay is responsible for what the FDA and the Surgeon General have called an ‘epidemic’ of youth tobacco use. More than five million youth currently use e-cigarettes, and use of e-cigarettes by high school students soared from 11.7 percent in 2017 to 27.5 percent in 2019. As a result of the delay, an array of cheap, flavored cigars and other tobacco products harmful to public health also have remained on the market without FDA review.”
The letter was also signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).