DeLauro Calls On FDA to Strengthen E-Cigarette, Cigar Laws

Sets April 2015 deadline to ban sales to minors

U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

WASHINGTON -- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen rules keeping "e-tobacco products" and cigars away from children.

In April, the FDA released a proposed rule that would ban e-cigarette sales to minors, a step DeLauro had previously urged.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, DeLauro urged her to:

  • Finalize that rule by April 25, 2015.
  • Ban “child-friendly flavorings” such as chocolate or bubble gum and “youth-oriented marketing practices” such as celebrity endorsements for e-tobacco products.
  • Require child-proof packaging on “containers of highly concentrated nicotine that are inserted into e-tobacco devices" (vaping tools).
  • Ensure premium cigars are subject to the same standards as all other forms of tobacco.

“I encourage you to draft a rule that emphasizes curbing the use of nicotine among our nation’s youth,” DeLauro wrote to Hamburg. “As you know, recent research indicates that, while cigarette use has fallen among children and adolescents, many more of our young people have sought out alternative sources of nicotine such as hookah, electronic devices and cigars. Further, many children falsely believe these nicotine delivery devices are healthier alternatives to cigarettes.”

DeLauro sits on the subcommittee responsible for funding the FDA. Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate e-cigarettes under the 2009 Tobacco Control Act, which DeLauro cosponsored. Data shows that in 2012 more than 1.78 million middle- and high-school students across the country had tried e-cigarettes, according to DeLauro.

DeLauro also promised in June to propose a federal tax on sugary drinks as part of her effort to curb obesity in the United States.