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ADA supports legislation regulating vaping devices

October 16, 2019

By Jennifer Garvin

Washington — The ADA reiterated its support for legislation aimed at regulating vaping devices and liquids in the same manner the Food and Drug Administration regulates cigarettes and other tobacco products.

In an Oct. 15 letter to Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chair Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., and Ranking Member Michael Burgess, R-Texas, the ADA urged the legislators to favorably consider HR 2339, the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019.

This bill would:

• Require FDA to implement the graphic health warnings for cigarette packages (which includes an oral cancer image) within 12 months.
• Extend the federal tobacco advertising and sales requirements to vaping devices and other types of nicotine products.
• Regulate vaping devices and other products covered by the Tobacco Control Act in the same manner as cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
• Raise the minimum age for purchasing nontobacco nicotine products to 21.
• Prohibit non-face-to-face sales of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and e-cigarette accessories.
• Prohibit all characterizing flavors of tobacco products, including menthol.

The letter was sent ahead of the committee’s Oct. 16 hearing on the bill, namely its provisions to regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems.

In supporting the legislation, ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin wrote that tobacco use is “causally associated” with higher rates of tooth decay, receding gums, periodontal disease, mucosal lesions, bone damage, tooth loss, jaw bone loss and more.

“While the oral health effects of vaping are not fully studied, there is some evidence that smokers who also used e-cigarettes were at increased risk for not being able to quit smoking, compared with smokers who never used e-cigarettes,” Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin wrote.

They noted that “about nine out of 10 people who are diagnosed with oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers use (or used) tobacco products” and “about 40% will survive no more than five years.”  

The 2016 House of Delegates adopted a policy stating that the ADA “does not consider marketing some tobacco products as safer or less harmful to an individual’s health than others to be a viable public health strategy to reduce the death and disease associated with tobacco use.”

Drs. Gehani and O’Loughlin concluded by saying the ADA supports regulating vaping devices and liquids in the same way that FDA regulates cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products and that “by codifying the FDA’s deeming regulation and placing additional restrictions on nontobacco nicotine products, HR 2339 provides an avenue for doing that.”

In 2016, the FDA finalized its “deeming rule,” implementing a provision in the Tobacco Control Act that extended its authority to regulate nontobacco nicotine delivery devices. The rule was to have taken effect in 2017, but agency officials announced they would delay enforcement until 2021 for newly regulated combustible products and 2022 for non-combustible products, such as e-cigarettes.

The ADA signed onto a coalition letter in May expressing support for the same bill.  The Association also thanked Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who is the Energy and Commerce chair, for introducing HR 2339.

For more information on the ADA’s advocacy efforts, visit ADA.org/tobacco.