Merkley Meets with FDA Leader and Urges Action on Tobacco Regulation

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Jeff Merkley, joined by Senators Blumenthal (D-CT) and Markey (D-MA), met with the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products to urge the agency to finalize its plan for regulating tobacco products. During today’s meeting, Senator Merkley also asked for the FDA to strengthen the proposed rules to address flavorings and marketing clearly designed to attract children and to mandate child-proof packaging of liquid nicotine.

“It has been almost six years since the FDA was given the authority to regulate tobacco products like e-cigarettes and tobacco candy, and we are still waiting for some type of regulation,” said Merkley. “In the meantime, more and more children are being introduced to a lifetime of dependence on nicotine through deceptive marketing and flavorings and a complete failure to regulate e-cigarettes. Further delay is unacceptable.”

Today’s meeting comes after all three Senators and Senators Durbin (D-IL), Boxer (D-CA) and Brown (D-OH) called for the FDA to finalize these regulations by April 25, 2015. The regulations would give FDA oversight over cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, including tobacco candy. The proposed rule on e-cigarettes was issued on April 25, 2014, five years after enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which provided the FDA with authority to regulate electronic cigarettes.