Synthetic Nicotine Set for FDA Regulations Under Budget Deal (1)

The Food and Drug Administration will get new powers to regulate synthetic nicotine, found in e-cigarettes popular among teens, as part of a government spending bill expected to pass in the coming days, confirmed a lawmaker on Tuesday.

According to a document obtained by Bloomberg.

Senses. Richard Burer (RN.C.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), with Rep. Frank Pallone (DN.J.) led efforts to get the language on the omnibus, according to two Senate sources familiar with the discussions. Lawmakers are racing to pass the bill before the March 11 deadline.

“This is a huge win for public health and American consumers,” Pallone said in a statement. “I am grateful to members on both sides of the aisle for working with me to close this loophole in the omnibus.”

Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

A person exhales vapor while using an e-cigarette in a smoking room in New York City on January 8, 2020.

The change will prevent “bad actors from trying to evade FDA regulations and hook a new generation of young people into a life of nicotine addiction,” Pallone said.

Public health groups have warned that synthetic nicotine e-cigarettes such as Puff Bar have gained popularity among teens while circumventing FDA oversight. The FDA has the authority to regulate natural tobacco products, but it’s unclear if this extends to lab-made nicotine.

Giving the FDA explicit authority to regulate synthetic nicotine would close a “dangerous loophole, which allows e-cigarette companies to sell kid-friendly e-cigarette flavors and make our young people addicted,” Harold Wimmer, president and CEO of the direction of the American Lung Association, mentioned.

“Young people are drawn to fruit and candy flavors and quickly become addicted to harmful e-cigarettes,” Wimmer said.

More than a quarter of middle and high school e-cigarette users said they use Puff Bar as their usual brand, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Puff Bar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Synthetic nicotine poses a new and growing threat to the health of our nation’s children,” Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

The same investigation revealed brands that use traditionally derived nicotine, such as those sold by Vuse, SMOK and JUUL Labs Inc.are also popular with teenagers, although people under 21 cannot buy them legally.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Ruoff in washington at [email protected]; Riley Griffin in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Robin Meszoly at [email protected]; Anna Yukhananov at [email protected]; Sarah Babbage at [email protected]

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