March 14 (UPI) — The American Heart Association has called on the Food and Drug Administration to do more to keep kids from using e-cigarettes, particularly flavored tobacco products.
The non-profit issued a statement to the agency Thursday recommending steps policymakers, public health professionals and health care providers should take to stop tobacco use and nicotine addiction in the United States. The statement was published in the journal Circulation.
“Although we appreciate that the FDA has recognized the magnitude of the problem with youth accessing and using flavored e-cigarettes and cigars, we are underwhelmed by this proposal,” Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO, in a news statement.
While some view e-cigarettes as an effective way to kick the habit of smoking tobacco cigarettes, studies have shown they also are getting kids addicted to nicotine who may have never smoked before.
To fight vaping among young people, the FDA moved to limit e-cigarette sales to stores with age-restrictions and pushed for age-requirements for online sales.
The FDA also extended its timeline to Aug. 8, 2022, for e-cigarette companies to submit tobacco product reviews applications for any new product that hits the market. The agency says that would give companies time to come up with more ways to make tobacco products like e-cigarettes less appealing and toxic to consumers.
Experts say fruity, sweet and menthol flavors attract young people to e-cigarettes. When inhaled, those flavors may also cause respiratory diseases and inflammation.
The FDA also says the extension would also give e-cigarette companies more time to create and present applications aligned with its new standards.
But the AHA wants federal officials to move up the timeline up to 2021 because it says the agency’s 2022 deadline will allow current e-cigarette products to remain on the market even longer.
“This plan doesn’t go far enough to reverse the e-cigarette epidemic we are facing,” Brown said. “As prescribed in our Presidential Advisory issued today, all flavored tobacco products should be removed from the market. We strongly urge the FDA to move forward with a more aggressive agenda to ensure that another generation doesn’t become addicted to tobacco.”