Congresswomen Speier: FDA Decision to Regulate E-Cigarette Industry is Lacking



April 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) issued the following statement after the Food and Drug Administration announced it will regulate the $2 billion a year electronic cigarette industry. Speier called for a Congressional hearing March 27 in a letter to Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa to investigate the proper role of the FDA and Congress where it concerns the need for regulation of the e-cigarette industry.

“While long-overdue, new rules proposed by the FDA to expand regulation of the e-cigarette industry are a good first step. However, I urge the FDA to consider significantly wider regulation of the industry, especially in terms of protecting our children and former smokers from being swayed by deceptive advertising and unsubstantiated claims that these cigarettes are healthier than other tobacco products. Although the proposed rule does make long awaited changes such as restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, there are important pieces missing -- such as child-proof packaging. Too many children have ended up poisoned by the devices,” Congresswoman Speier said.

“With cotton candy and gummy bear flavors and the ability to purchase e-cigarettes online, our children are still very much at risk even with the FDA’s move to regulate. In the coming weeks, I plan to introduce legislation to address these serious regulatory gaps,” Congresswoman Speier said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) e-cigarette use by middle and high school students more than doubled from 2011 to 2012. Exposure to the concentrated amounts of the chemicals that go into e-cigarettes, either via ingestion or absorption, can cause seizures, arrhythmia, vomiting, and even death. The New York Times found that in the United States the number of poison control center cases and the number of cases referred to hospitals linked to e-cigarettes tripled between 2012 and 2013.

Click here to read letter to Issa.

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Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.