W

ASHINGTON — A House panel is again trying to exempt increasingly popular e-cigarettes from new Food and Drug Administration rules.

The legislation approved Wednesday by the Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee would prevent the FDA from requiring retroactive safety reviews of e-cigarettes already on the market. It would exempt some premium and large cigars from those same regulations. E-cigarette products introduced in the future would face the safety reviews.

The development comes as the Trump administration has delayed enforcement of the new FDA rule and the e-cigarette industry is hopeful that efforts to roll back the Obama regulations will advance both as legislation and through several pending lawsuits.

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Supporters say that “vaping” is far safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes and that the products, which generally heat a liquid nicotine solution into vapor, can help tobacco smokers quit. They say FDA rules would lead small companies that produce the products to go out of business rather than undergo expensive regulatory reviews.

“E-vapor products are 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a co-sponsor of the plan. “I want to help people in our country, America, to cycle off of cigarettes.”

But most panel Democrats said the products are dangerous and are targeted at children.

“While we do not know what is in e-cigarettes, study after study finds that most show high levels of formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, (D-N.Y.), who said the products are geared toward getting children hooked on nicotine with flavors such as Fruit Loops and Gummy Bears.

“The FDA would never be able to put the genie back in the bottle, unable to regulate — or even know what is in — these products, forever,” Lowey said. A move by Lowey to defend the FDA rules was blocked by a 30-22 vote.

The provision to undercut the FDA rules was attached to legislation funding the agency’s budget for the fiscal year starting in October.

Democrats succeeded earlier this year in blocking the move to exempt existing products on an earlier spending bill.

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Public health groups say the regulations could allow many newer tobacco products to escape scrutiny just as more people, including teenagers, are using them. Cigarette smoking has decreased in recent years, but vaping and cigar smoking have risen, and some of those products come in flavors appealing to teenagers and young adults.

The nicotine-infused vapor of e-cigarettes looks like smoke but doesn’t contain all the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

The FDA rules will require e-cigarette brands marketed since February 2007 to undergo premarket reviews retroactively. The FDA will then ensure the product is “appropriate for the protection of the public health.” If not, the agency could take it off the market.

— Andrew Taylor

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  • Good step… A lot of studies mentioned are faked and not made under real conditions. You can make a good barbecue with good delicious steak or you can burn it and eat charcoal witch is clearly not healthy, just do compare and this is exactly what happens (i know the studies). In fact there is currently “no” known case who somebody got harmed, exept battery accidents that can happen to “any” battery. Nicotine also is part of a lot of vegetables like pepper, tomatos and much more… Anybody got harmed? (this is also used to aid parkinson patients with nicotine by using tomato salat, verify it!) There is a huge war on this and it’s all about the money… Mostly not from big tobacco, it’s big pharma… Fearing losses for cancer therapys and other products targeting smokers. And of cause will young people may try it… They will also try to drive a car without a license, may own a gun without a license, drinking alcohol and try other drugs… But there is one huge different, they will not die by using a e-cigarette, will not suffer from the related deseases. So start using your brain.

    By the way, i have nothing against a light regulation to set quality standards but the planned regulation is far more than this… People should have the choice, they should be free to make a own descission for there life and how they want to quit with smoking.

  • Bishop should know better! Big Tobacco who cannot be trusted manufactures these now. They only want profits. Without regulation they will make them any way they like – which includes health risks due to cytotoxic and carcinogenic ingredients. REGULATE THEM AND MAKE THEM SAFE TO AVOID FUTURE LONG TERM HEALTH PROBLEMS! Are these congressmen stupid or do they just not care? Listen to the experts and look at the research!

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