The US Food and Drug Administration received its fourth consecutive failing grade on regulation of tobacco products in the American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report.
A key factor in the grade was the Trump administration’s decision to exempt menthol and tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes from the policy it finalized this month to clear the market of cartridge-based e-cigarette flavors. The final policy was a shift from its September announcement that it would clear the market of all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco.
“Unfortunately, the federal government has repeatedly failed to take action to protect kids from flavored tobacco products,” the report said, citing studies that showed 97% of youth e-cigarette users used a flavored product in the past month and 70% said flavors were a key reason for why they vaped.
Not all marks were failures, however. In response to a new law that increased the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, the association created a new category, and for that, the federal government received an A.
“We were surprised by how quickly the federal law was enacted,” said Thomas Carr, lead author of the report and director of national policy for the American Lung Association. “We’re certainly thrilled by the development.”
Still, Carr noted the importance of e-cigarette regulation.
“It’s staggering how fast youth vaping has been increasing … We have a real crisis,” he said.
Gina Yu – CNN – January 29, 2020.