WASHINGTON – Sen. Jeff Merkley D-Ore., released the following statement Thursday after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco deeming rule was finalized and will now go into effect:
“The tobacco regulation rule announced today by the FDA is a critical milestone for public health. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough to quickly address candy and fruit-flavor e-cigarettes – like ‘Gummy Bear’ or ‘Scooby Snacks’ — targeted at our children.
“The rule takes important steps forward by banning the sale of all tobacco products to children under-18, requiring health warnings, and prohibiting free samples. I also applaud FDA’s plan to develop an additional rule to ban flavorings in cigars.
“The rule also requires all e-cigarettes to be approved by the FDA. While this approval process could eventually block the sale of candy and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes, the products can stay on the market for up to three years while manufacturers continue targeting our youth.
“As a father and as a senator, I urge the FDA to move quickly to get these insidious flavors off the market, and to end advertising aimed at our children.”