WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Meredith Berkman, co-founder of Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes (PAVe), to discuss FDA’s failure to protect children from the dangers of vaping as the agency continues to miss and delay critical deadlines, including a missed federal court deadline on December 31, 2023. Durbin has repeatedly criticized FDA for failing to clear the market of addictive, kid-friendly e-cigarettes amid its long-overdue review of pre-market tobacco product applications (PMTAs) from e-cigarette manufacturers, which had a deadline of September 9, 2021. FDA has missed that court-ordered deadline by 28 months as unauthorized e-cigarettes flood the market and addict America’s children.

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“FDA is now 28 months past the original court-ordered deadline to complete its review of unauthorized e-cigarettes. That is not only unacceptable, it’s embarrassing. And the consequences for our children are devastating. The longer these unauthorized products are on the market, the more kids become addicted,” said Durbin. “During today’s meeting, I reiterated to Ms. Berkman that I will continue to work in the Senate to urge FDA to finally do something to protect public health.”

Earlier this week, Durbin sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf again asking FDA to use its authority to protect children and stop unlawfully marketed vaping products. In the letter, Durbin cited other ways FDA had missed crucial deadlines, including failing to meet a statutory deadline for the regulation of synthetic nicotine products—an authority that FDA itself asked for. Durbin and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) successfully secured a bipartisan provision in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill that clarified FDA’s ability to regulate products containing synthetic nicotine as tobacco products. This legislative fix was necessary to close legal loopholes that manufacturers of kid-friendly, flavored e-cigarettes sought to sidestep FDA regulation, which had the potential to erase recent progress made toward curbing the nationwide youth vaping epidemic. The new law required FDA to clear the market of all unauthorized synthetic nicotine products by July 13, 2022—18 months ago.

Durbin has been a vocal leader in the fight against Big Tobacco, particularly since he lost his father to lung cancer at the age of 14. He went after Big Tobacco when he served in the House of Representatives and led the charge to ban smoking on airplanes, which eventually led to restaurants, office buildings, trains, and much more. Durbin has also led efforts to grant FDA jurisdiction over tobacco, raise tobacco taxes to prevent youth initiation, and enhance support for tobacco cessation tools.

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