Congress Members Pressure FDA on Illegal E-cigarette Imports from China
Recently, in an exclusive document provided to The Hill, Republican Congressman Rob Wittman and Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi publicly released a letter addressed to Robert Califf, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regarding their unanswered inquiries submitted to the agency in November.
They wrote, "The recent federal joint operation in December 2023 seized over 1.4 million illicit e-cigarettes, and we commend this effort. However, there is still more work to be done. Illegally manufactured e-cigarette products from China currently account for over half of all e-cigarette products sold in the United States, significantly increasing the prevalence of underage e-cigarette use.
Legislators have taken note of the fact that FDA data reveals that more than one in every four teenagers admits to using e-cigarettes on a daily basis, with a majority expressing a preference for flavored e-cigarettes.
In the letter, they specifically mentioned the ELFBAR brand, with 56% of users stating that they obtained this brand through "illegal imports" from China. This product line stands out with brightly colored e-cigarettes, available in various fruity flavors.
Critics widely believe that these types of products are specifically designed to appeal to children and teenagers. Despite the ban imposed by the Food and Drug Administration on most fruit and mint flavored e-cigarettes, these products continue to flood into the United States and remain available for purchase.
The lawmakers questioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about their plans to prevent the influx of e-cigarettes from China and whether they intended to pursue legal action against manufacturers. They also inquired why the FDA has not issued regulations requiring foreign manufacturers to register, despite the Tobacco Control Act allowing for such measures.
The FDA, which had previously stated that it would complete the review of applications by the end of December 2023, has missed the final deadline. Representatives Whitman and Krishnamoorthi are pressing the FDA for information on the timeline for completing the review and urging the agency to address the issue of delays.
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