Feb. 28, 2013
The following is a Statement of
Matthew L. Myers
, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
A study published today by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a significant increase in awareness and use of electronic cigarettes, which are not currently regulated by any government agency to protect public health. Manufacturers have exploited this regulatory loophole to aggressively market e-cigarettes, often with claims that they can help smokers quit or that they are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. Due to the lack of regulation, no one knows how much nicotine and other substances are in the different e-cigarettes, and manufacturers have not had to provide any scientific evidence to support their claims or to comply with public health regulations intended to protect consumers from deceptive claims.
The growing use of e-cigarettes and the unproven health claims being made about them underscore the need for the Food and Drug Administration to quickly assert authority over all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The FDA announced in
that it intended to do so, but over two years later, it has yet to act. The landmark 2009 tobacco regulation law directed the FDA to regulate cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigarette tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. The law authorized the agency to extend its authority to all other tobacco products.
The FDA must act quickly to close gaps and loopholes in the law and ensure that all tobacco products and products that claim to help smokers quit are regulated to protect public health. If e-cigarette manufacturers want to claim that their products can help smokers quit, they should be subject to the same rigorous scientific review as other smoking cessation products. If they want to claim that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to other tobacco products, they should follow the process established by the 2009 law for doing so. The law establishes safeguards to ensure that such claims are supported by science and don't do more harm than good by encouraging kids to start using tobacco or discouraging current tobacco users from quitting.