Organizations urge lawmakers to regulate synthetic nicotine products

The ADA and 61 other organizations are asking leaders of the House and Senate to enact legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products.

In a  Mar. 7 letter, the groups called e-cigarette manufacturers' use of synthetic nicotine a "growing threat to our nation's youth" and urged lawmakers to address this serious public health situation by passing legislation at the "earliest possible opportunity" and enabling the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products to regulate the synthetic nicotine products.

In the letter, the coalition said that manufacturers are switching from using tobacco-derived nicotine in their products to synthetic nicotine to circumvent tobacco product regulations and to keep flavored e-cigarettes that are attracting and addicting youth on the market. They noted that while the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives FDA the authority to oversee tobacco products, it defines a tobacco product as one that is made or derived from tobacco and said manufacturers of synthetic products "have suggested that their products are not subject to FDA regulation because synthetic nicotine is not derived from tobacco."

"The repercussions of this situation have become alarming over the past year," wrote the coalition, which pointed to examples where manufacturers previously warned by the ADA about marketing to kids have re-entered the market as synthetic nicotine products.

"Time is of the essence," the letter concluded. "Inaction will result in more manufacturers switching to synthetic nicotine, allow flavored e-cigarettes that have helped fuel the youth e-cigarette epidemic to remain on the market, and undercut efforts to protect kids from nicotine addiction and tobacco use. Further delay on synthetic nicotine will also enable other products made with synthetic nicotine to enter the market and evade FDA regulation. We urge you to prioritize the development of bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would give FDA's Center for Tobacco Products the authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products as tobacco products and to quickly enact it into law."

The day after the letter was sent, lawmakers indicated they would give the FDA authority to regulate synthetic nicotine products by including language calling for such in Congress' upcoming spending bill.

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