Judge orders FDA to speed up review of e-cigarettes

A federal judge is siding with public health groups suing the Food and Drug Administration to begin reviewing thousands of e-cigarettes on the U.S. market.

The ruling handed down Wednesday in district court states that the agency shirked its legal duty when it postponed reviewing all U.S. vaping products by several years.

The American Academy of Pediatrics , Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other groups filed the federal lawsuit in Maryland last year. The groups say the lack of FDA oversight has led to an explosion in underage vaping by teenagers, threatening to hook a generation of Americans on nicotine.

“It is now the FDA’s responsibility to take immediate action to protect our kids and require manufacturers to apply to the FDA if they want to keep their products on the market,” the groups said in a statement.

E-cigarettes are nicotine-emitting devices that have grown into a multibillion-dollar industry in the U.S. despite little research on their long-term health effects, including whether they are useful in helping smokers quit cigarettes.

The FDA gained authority to regulate the products in 2016, but it has allowed thousands of products to remain on the market without formal rules or product standards. The agency says that both FDA staff and manufacturers need more time to prepare for regulation.

The public health groups have warned that the lack of oversight could undo decades of anti-tobacco efforts as young people migrate toward newer vaping products.

U.S. Judge Paul Grimm agreed, calling the FDA’s delay “so extreme as to amount to an abdication of its statutory responsibilities.”

Read more at https://www.mcall.com

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