By: Angela Garrity
Roll Call is reporting that senators Dick Durbin and Mitt Romney formed a bipartisan voice, to urge the FDA to go beyond a vaping flavor ban. These two Senators want hardware banned, too, as the two lawmakers agree with their shared vision of “the FDA should do more to regulate devices used for vaping”.
They call that necessary because “the hundreds of illnesses and six deaths linked to vaping in recent months are potentially caused by illicit substances used in commonly available vaping devices”.
“We’re going to have a tough time policing it to make sure the flavors are not sold on a black market,” Durbin said.
While Durbin has been calling on the FDA to ban flavors for years, he said the proposed ban on flavors alone “is not going to solve all the problems that we face because of e-cigarettes.”
A Durbin aide suggested that the bigger problem will be “smaller vaping shops and online sales”. While the FDA conveyed that the agency “will go after them hard” for noncompliance, the aide said Congress might need to consider providing more resources for enforcement.
FDA officials are “pursuing a process under their regulations which I think is appropriate,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told CQ Roll Call. “I think it’s up to us in Congress to put in place legislation that does three things,” including adding taxes on e-cigarettes and having the FDA require that any approved e-cigarettes are tamper-proof so that users wouldn’t be able to add marijuana or other unregulated substances.
Romney also called for outlawing flavors permanently, he said.
At a minimum, Congress seems likely to build on the FDA’s action this year by raising the nationwide smoking age to 21. The cries to do more are also coming from beyond the expected sources like public health groups and Democratic lawmakers. Some Republicans are calling for tougher restrictions as well.
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