ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG JOINS MULTISTATE COALITION URGING FDA BAN ON FLAVORED E CIGARETTES
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong joined a coalition of seven attorneys general in filing comments this week urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take stronger action to address the scourge of e-cigarette use among youth, including a full ban on all flavored e-cigarettes.
The attorneys general are urging the FDA to prioritize enforcement action against all flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol, and mint; begin enforcement sooner than its proposed date; and ban the online sale of e-cigarettes.
"Youth use of e-cigarettes in Connecticut has skyrocketed, and flavors are a big part of that problem. The FDA must act immediately to ban all flavors—including menthol and mint. My office is in close contact with partner states and carefully reviewing all legal options for further action to address harmful marketing of e-cigarettes to children," said Attorney General William Tong.
On March 14, 2019, the FDA published draft guidance on proposed compliance changes for certain tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In that proposal, the FDA recommended restrictions on certain flavored e-cigarette sales made in convenience stores, gas stations, and through online websites, but exempted menthol and mint flavors from those restrictions. As part of its rulemaking process, the FDA sought comments to inform the final version of the guidance.
Research has shown that use of menthol or mint e-cigarettes increased from 42.3% to 51.2% among all current e-cigarette-using high school students during 2017-2018. Additionally, online sales of e-cigarettes make such products less expensive through evasion of state taxes, which makes them more readily available to youth.
The letter was led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and signed by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
In 2009, Congress enacted the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA), which effectively banned cigarettes that contained flavors other than tobacco or menthol, and granted the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. The TCA was passed in order to reduce the number of youth who smoke and become addicted to tobacco products.
Assistant Attorney General Heather Wilson assisted the Attorney General in this matter.