WHY THIS MATTERS
The FDA currently regulates cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. The agency has proposed a new rule, referred to as the deeming rule, that would extend its authority to regulate all other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco and dissolvable tobacco products. Public comments about this proposed rule are being accepted until August 8, 2014.
The FDA is under pressure to include loopholes in the final rule to exempt some products. Cigar smokers, e-cigarette users, retailers and manufacturers are flooding the FDA with comments urging exemptions and weaker regulations. The FDA needs to hear from you to make sure the final rule is strong and doesn’t exempt any tobacco products. Below are some talking points and samples you can use to make sure your comments have the greatest impact.
GENERAL TALKING POINTS
FDA should regulate all cigars.
Cigars are not just smoked by adults – kids smoke them too. High school boys now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes (16.5 percent for cigars and 16.4 percent for cigarettes), and more male high school seniors smoke cigars than smoke cigarettes. FDA should regulate all cigars and not try to exempt so-called premium cigars. According to the FDA’s proposed rule, “all cigars are harmful and potentially addictive” and “a large cigar may contain as much tobacco as a whole pack of cigarettes.” Exempting any category of tobacco product creates a dangerous loophole that the tobacco industry can exploit to create and market products that appeal to kids.
FDA must protect kids by extending the prohibition on self-service displays to cigars and e-cigarettes.
Prohibiting self-service displays would help keep tobacco products out of the hands of kids by requiring customers to ask a sales clerk for assistance. These rules currently apply to cigarettes, which is why they are typically located behind the counter, and they should apply to cigars and e-cigarettes. Without a prohibition on self-service displays, these products can be placed next to candy in stores, making them attractive and accessible to kids.
FDA should prohibit internet sales of tobacco products, including e- cigarettes.
The internet makes buying all sorts of products easy. Kids should not be able to buy e-cigarettes and e-liquids online. At a minimum, the FDA should adopt the same age verification procedures for internet sellers of e-cigarettes and refill liquids that apply to internet sales of cigarettes.
FDA should restrict e-cigarette marketing that appeals to kids.
E-cigarette companies are using the same tactics that have long been used to market regular cigarettes to kids – including celebrities and cartoon characters to pitch products, sponsorships of race cars and music festivals, and ads that portray e-cigarettes as glamorous and rebellious. It’s not surprising that the percentage of middle and high school students who reported ever using e-cigarettes doubled from 2011 to 2012.
FDA should ban flavors in cigars and electronic cigarettes.
Fruit and candy flavors are banned in cigarettes, and they should be banned in cigars and e-cigarettes. The increase in cigar use has been driven by an increase in the use of small, flavored cigars, with flavors like grape, watermelon and chocolate. E-cigarettes also are available in numerous flavors, including sweet tart, cotton candy, gummy bear and bubble gum. As studies and tobacco industry internal documents reveal, sweet flavors are especially appealing to kids.
FDA should require child-proof packaging for e-cigarette liquid nicotine.
Nicotine is a powerful neurotoxin, and even small amounts when ingested or absorbed through the skin can cause vomiting and seizures. The fact that these flavored liquids smell and taste sweet makes them even more appealing to children. Calls to poison control centers about liquid nicotine poisoning have risen dramatically. The FDA must act swiftly to require child-proof packaging of nicotine e-liquids and related products.
FDA must issue a final rule no later than April 25, 2015.
The FDA has taken far too long to begin regulating e-cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products, and we cannot afford more delays. Timelines for implementing steps like warning labels are tied to when the rule is finalized. Delay could mean we won’t see changes for several years. That is unacceptable and puts our kids and public health at risk.
GET MORE FACTS
Steps for Submitting Comments:
1. Draft your comments using some or all of these talking points
2. Personalize your comments with your own experience
3. Click on the SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS button below and copy and paste the comments into the Regulations.gov form
4. On the Regulations.gov form, uncheck “I am submitting on behalf of a third party” and select either “Individual Consumer” or “Health Professional” (whichever applies to you) as the category
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