The ATS congratulates the FDA on its important, but belated action, to remove flavored e-cigarette products from the U.S. market. Since e-cigarette products first emerged in the U.S., the American Thoracic Society has consistently called on FDA to aggressively regulate e-cigarettes and has repeatedly urged the FDA to ban flavored e-cigarettes from the U.S. market.
In 2013, the ATS called for a ban on menthol and candy, fruit and sweetened e-cigarettes. FDA failed to act.
In 2014, the ATS joined our international respiratory colleagues in endorsing a policy statement calling for a ban on flavored e-cigarette products. FDA failed to act.
In formal comments to FDA in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 and in direct meetings with FDA staff over the past several years, the ATS urged FDA to ban flavored e-cigarette products as part of a comprehensive strategy to regulate e-cigarette products. Still FDA failed to act.
In 2018, the ATS joined medical groups in suing FDA for its failure to effectively regulate e-cigarette products. Earlier this year, the court agreed and ordered FDA to accelerate its product review schedule for e-cigarette programs.
While I am encouraged that the FDA is poised to finally take action, it’s inexcusable that FDA effectively gave the e-cigarette industry years to use our nation’s children as ‘lab rats’ in their e-cigarette marketing experiment. I further note that the FDA announcement says, ‘FDA intends to finalize a compliance policy in the coming weeks…,’ and I continue to be frustrated that FDA is still pleading for additional time to take action on e-cigarettes. E-cigarette users are dying today. Every day the FDA delays decisive action further jeopardizes the health of our nation’s youth and the American public."
Hasmeena Kathuria, MD, ATSF, and vice chair of the ATS Tobacco Action Committee