Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Monday criticized the Food and Drug Administration for its new tobacco rules, saying the regulations threaten the electronic-cigarette industry.
“Today, costly and time-consuming regulations will go into effect against hard-working small business owners and job creators and their customers,” Johnson, who’s head of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “The FDA threatens to crush the emerging electronic-cigarette industry, leading to negative unintended consequences for public health by making it harder for consumers to buy products that serve as an alternative to smoking.”
The FDA’s rules, which were finalized in May, include a section that the e-cigarette industry and some free-market think tanks say would be overly burdensome for e-cig manufacturers because of the costs associated with the application process for products that didn’t come on the market until after Feb. 15, 2007.
Trinity, Fla.-based e-cigarette and e-liquid maker Nicopure Labs sued the FDA over the rules on May 10, the same day the agency finalized them. Think tanks such as TechFreedom and the National Center for Public Policy Research filed a brief last week in support of Nicopure, saying the FDA’s rules would cause most e-cigarette companies to shut down.
Johnson said he will “continue to demand the FDA be transparent about the effect of this onerous regulation.”
Johnson has sent FDA Commissioner Robert Califf three letters since May, pressing the agency to provide data on how many e-cigarette companies would be affected by the new rules. The FDA told Morning Consult that it responded to Johnson’s queries, while the senator’s office said in an email that the reply “did not provide complete responses to the chairman’s letter.”