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E-cigarette regulation efforts could be snuffed out by FDA commissioner's resignation, Sen. Schumer says

"A ban on kid-friendly flavors ... is in jeopardy," Sen. Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.

Senator Charles Schumer shows examples of "kid-friendly" e-cigarette

Senator Charles Schumer shows examples of "kid-friendly" e-cigarette flavors during a press conference at his Manhattan office on Sunday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday pushed the Food and Drug Administration to finalize a set of rules concerning the classification of e-cigarettes and the sale of their flavors. 

Schumer said the FDA should finalize a ban of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores where he said kids tend to be customers, as well as define e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The push comes amid news that FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will resign at the end of the month.

"In an administration known for cozying up to special interests and huge corporations, Gottlieb was different. He really stuck up for the average consumer," Schumer said, speaking at his Manhattan office. "But now with his departure, there's something to worry about and that is inaction on these e-cigs, and particularly the kids flavors that they use to lure kids into vaping."

In October 2017, Schumer pushed the FDA to limit the sale of e-cigarettes — like tobacco products — to people over 18 years old. He also said New York high school students are more likely to smoke e-cigarettes than students in other states.

Then in May he pushed for a ban on what he called “kid-friendly flavors.”

Schumer said Sunday that a ban on flavors like "candy cane" and "vanilla wafer" has been discussed, but not yet enacted, and that Gottlieb should push to complete this process before he leaves. Schumer added that Gottlieb has called out companies for questionable marketing tactics, and has received voluntary compliance, "but then other companies come in and fill the gap, that's why we need a comprehensive rule."

"A ban on the kid-friendly flavors has been in the pipeline, but now with him leaving it's in jeopardy," Schumer said, adding: "The rules are in the pipeline, they take awhile. And if Gottlieb were still here, I'd be confident that they'd be enacted ... but if he leaves in a month, someone else could reverse that progress."

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