Durbin blasts FDA for not going far enough on e-cig marketing

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Wednesday criticized a government proposal to restrict marketing on e-cigarettes, saying it does far too little to address the issue.

 

Durbin, the author of a recent investigative report that found a dramatic recent increase in the marketing of electronic cigarettes, responded to regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would expand the agency’s regulatory authority.

“Shame on the FDA. Faced with a responsibility to protect our children from an addiction to a product that can harm them, the FDA strained to create a political compromise. Prohibiting sales to kids but doing nothing to protect children from candy flavored marketing in children’s venues is an awful outcome,” Durbin said. “Parents across America lost their best ally in protecting their kids from this insidious product.”

Durbin also joined co-authors of the report, Democratic U.S. Sens. John D. Rockefeller, Richard Blumenthal, Edward J. Markey, Sherrod Brown, and Jack Reed, in responding to the proposed regulations with a joint statement:

“Last week, we joined colleagues in the House and Senate releasing the first comprehensive investigation of e-cigarette marketing tactics: “Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth.” Our report showed a dramatic recent increase in the marketing of e-cigarettes, with extensive resources being dedicated to reaching youth audiences. From fruity flavors to glamorous celebrity endorsements, every single company surveyed in the report appeared to employ a marketing strategy that targets youth,” the members said.

“Today, after years of waiting for the FDA to act, we are extremely disappointed by its failure to take comprehensive action to prevent e-cigarette companies from continuing to deploy marketing tactics aimed at luring children and teenagers into a candy-flavored nicotine addiction. Prohibiting sales of these products to minors is a positive step, but it isn’t enough. As long as e-cigarette companies continue to take pages from Big Tobacco’s old and cynical marketing playbook, our children will remain vulnerable to the grave dangers of nicotine addiction.”

Last week, 11 Democratic lawmakers released a report that shows a dramatic recent increase in the marketing of electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes – with extensive resources being dedicated to social media, sponsorship of youth-oriented events, and television and radio advertisements that reach substantial youth audiences. The report, “Gateway to Addiction? A Survey of Popular Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers and Marketing to Youth,” is the first comprehensive investigation of e-cigarette marketing tactics and was compiled using responses from eight e-cigarette manufacturers received by the lawmakers from their investigation into the industry and other publicly available information.

The report was released by Durbin and others.

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