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‘What the hell are you waiting for?’ Senators grill FDA, DOJ about lack of action on youth vaping epidemic
‘What the hell are you waiting for?’ Senators grill FDA, DOJ about lack of action on youth vaping epidemic

June 13 : Republicans and Democrats on the US Senate Judiciary Committee showed rare agreement Wednesday as they took to task the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Justice for what they described as inaction on the country’s youth vaping epidemic.

Since that time, one study found, an estimated 2.1 million children have used e-cigarettes regularly, and the majority use flavored products.

“After the court-ordered deadline passed on September 9, 2021, the FDA could have ordered every single unauthorized e-cigarette off the market, and that’s what it should have done,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, told Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, at Wednesday’s hearing. “Instead, thousands of unauthorized e-cigarettes flooded the market.”

In fact, Durbin said, his staffers found vapes in flavors like Red Bull, strawberry, dragonfruit and watermelon bubble gum at a shop just a mile from FDA headquarters.

“Not a single one of these products has been authorized by the FDA. None of them. These illegal products, clearly designed for kids by their flavors, are being sold” even in the shadow of FDA headquarters, he said.

Placing one of the products in front of him, Durbin asked how the FDA could let such sales happen.

“The volume of those applications and the volume of the market requires us to prioritize our enforcement efforts,” King testified.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, also told the representatives from the FDA and the Department of Justice that she was displeased.

“I think it’s disappointing to hear you kind of talk in circles about what you are planning to do, but you haven’t established a plan, and you’re not certain what your way forward is going to be,” she said.

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