Schumer Calls on Gov't Not to Postpone Regulation of E-Cigarettes
On Sunday October 15th, Senator Chuck Schumer pleaded with the federal government to reverse a decision to postpone the regulation of e-cigarettes. In July, the Food and Drug Administration decided to delay an already finalized rule to regulate e-cigarettes. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the delay would allow the agency time to decide how e-cigarettes fit into its overall tobacco regulatory strategy.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain a mechanism inside to heats up liquid nicotine turning it into a vapor that smokers then inhale and exhale. They do not contain tobacco.
As reported by the NY Post, Schumer said that the FDA's delay means that e-cigarettes stay unhampered on the market until at least 2022. He argued that the postponing regulation on vaping is a mistake. He cited compelling data from the surgeon general, stating that in 2015 over 3 million middle and high school students said they had used e-cigarettes over the course of the month. In New York, 20 percent (1 out of 5) said they had vaped, which is higher than the national average of 11.3 percent of high school students nationwide in 2016, as cited by the Centers for Disease Control.
Sen. Schumer also stressed that being a fairly new product, the risks of using the e-cigarettes are still unknown. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study that some e-cigs have higher voltage levels, which can actually have a level of cancer-causing formaldehyde fifteen times higher than that of conventional cigarettes.
The nicotine gadget called “Juul” has become particularly popular with teenagers. It looks identical to a USB flash drive, which makes it easy to hide in a classroom. It can even be charged in school or on a laptop at home. It also comes in different flavors, which appeal to youngsters. Schumer maintains that Juul may be even more dangerous than conventional smoking because one “pod” contains the amount of nicotine present in an entire pack of conventional cigarettes.
“To know that New York kids are much more likely to be using these new-age e-cig devices, like Juul, is not only concerning, but it could be dangerous,” said Schumer. “Up until now, the FDA was on track to reign in e-cigs and regulate them like any other tobacco product, but this recent delay, coupled with the new numbers showing a rise in the use of gadgets like Juul, which can fool teachers and be brought to school, demands the FDA smoke out dangerous e-cigs and their mystery chemicals before more New York kids get hooked.”
“JUUL was designed to displace cigarettes and is intended for use only by adult smokers who want to switch from cigarettes. We strongly condemn the use of our product by minors. It is in fact illegal to sell our product to minors and we support all enforcement efforts of existing laws,” said Christine Castro, JUUL lab spokesperson.
Senator Chuck E. Schumer holds a Juul e-cigarette package as he discusses an increase in e-cigarette use by New York high school students