WASHINGTON — Congressional supporters of the tobacco industry have wasted no time in proposing legislation to help e-cigarette companies escape rules adopted under President Barack Obama.

In what Representatives Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) described as a “clarification,” the two introduced a bill Thursday that would revise Food and Drug Administration rules governing the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes and cigars.

The “FDA Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017” is an attempt by the lawmakers to set FDA policy back to where it was before the agency asserted authority over cigars, pipe tobacco, and vapor products such as e-cigarettes.


The so-called deeming rule’s “grandfather” clause states that companies selling any such product after Feb. 15, 2007, must now disclose their ingredients and prove that their products meet the applicable public health standards set by the law.

Cole and Bishop’s proposal would get rid of the “grandfather” clause.

“Vapor products offer a promising path for harm reduction for those seeking to quit or limit their smoking,” said Bishop in a statement. “This legislation would ensure the FDA’s regulatory process does not limit the availability of safer tobacco options for those seeking to make use of them.”

“The FDA effectively is making it more difficult for vapor products to come to market than cigarettes,” a statement from Cole’s office said.

The industry fought the FDA proposal for years, enlisting big-name lobbyists like former Sen. Mary Landrieu, among others, from big tobacco companies. Vapor shop owners and cigar makers and sellers also joined the fight.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, said he was not surprised by the re-appearance of the bill, which was also introduced last year.

“By working on what purports to be a technical change, “ Myers said, “ it leaves on the market the candy and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes that are so popular among young people.”

“You can put any gloss on it you want, this is the tobacco industry’s effort to continue to market flavored tobacco products to hook another generation of kids.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Representative Bishop’s party affiliation.

Leave a Comment

Please enter your name.
Please enter a comment.

  • I second Jean Monroe’s comment. While the Myers quote was needed for fair balance, it seems a bit irresponsible to punctuate a good article with blatant propaganda from the opposition. Had proper research been performed re: the FDA deeming regulations, you would have learned that if Cole-Bishop does not pass, the vaping industry as we now know it, will no longer exist. The only products that will be left on the market are the “candy and fruit-flavored” disposable e-cigarettes to which Mr. Myers refers – products produced and distributed by big tobacco. Follow the money. If Cole-Bishop doesn’t pass, small businesses across the country will be forced out of business. Thereby, allowing big tobacco to regain the over 30% market share it has lost to the vaping industry. That the FDA would allow this to happen, is cause for major concern as to the FDA’s true interests – public health or appeasing to major lobbyists?

  • Except that there’s zero evidence that e-cigarettes are an effective method of nicotine replacement with intent to quit. Actually, the evidence we DO have says that people are much more likely to use BOTH than they are to switch from cigarettes to vapor cigarettes or use vapor cigarettes to quit tobacco altogether.

    • @GH
      So not true. It would help if the right questions are asked in these surveys. There is an adoption period for most where they are dual users until making the switch 100%. For some it’s a few days, others may take a year or longer but vaping is FAR more effective than other NRT methods. I have personally seen hundreds if not thousands of people quit analog cigarettes over the last 4 years. My entire family was successful and now live a smoke free life.
      You will never convince me or the other millions of people that “There’s zero evidence”… we are living proof!

    • @GH Can you back up your claims with any evidence? Where are you getting your information?

  • That the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids can still spew such nonsense, appealing to the public’s ignorance and emotions on a topic that’s been consistently misreported over the past few years – while using skewed, biased or flawed “studies” – is criminal. One would hope you’d offer a reasonable counterpoint to that last quote by Myers, instead of capping off this piece with it. It seems like basic due diligence.

Sign up for our Daily Recap newsletter

A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day in science and medicine

Privacy Policy