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Pallone & Green Urge FDA Not to Delay Tobacco Safety Standards

May 16, 2017
Press Release
“Attempts to delay or roll back the final deeming rule defies Congressional intent.”

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX) sent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb today urging continued implementation of the so-called deeming rule, which extended the authority of FDA to regulate all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, vape pens, cigars, and hookah.

“Now that you have been confirmed, we expect you to follow through on your testimony,” Pallone and Green wrote to Commissioner Gottlieb.  “Congress was clear when it passed the Tobacco Control Act that it intended for FDA to promulgate regulations to protect public health, and any attempts to delay or roll back the final deeming rule defies Congressional intent.”

In 2009, Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which provided FDA with authority to deem all tobacco products subject to FDA oversight and regulation.  Last year, FDA finalized the deeming rule extending its authority to regulate all tobacco products and outlined a regulatory framework for these products.  However, the future of the deeming rule was put into question when the Trump administration announced a decision to postpone implementation of the rule for an additional three months. 

“We are concerned that any delay in implementation will slow down the agency’s ability to protect the public from the harm of tobacco products, especially at a time when children and teens are using these products with increasing frequency,” Pallone and Green continued in their letter.

The administration’s decision to delay implementation of tobacco product regulation comes at a time when American children and teens are increasingly using new tobacco products including e-cigarettes and vaping pens.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 16 percent of high school students reported usage of e-cigarettes in 2015 and that a higher percentage of high school aged boys smoked cigars than cigarettes.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has primary jurisdiction in the House of Representatives over both FDA and tobacco products.

A copy of Pallone and Green’s letter is available here.