Chairman Krishnamoorthi Calls on FDA Acting Commissioner to Bar the Sale of Menthol Flavored E-Cigarettes

Aug 31, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (August 31, 2021)—Yesterday, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock applauding FDA’s decision to bar the sale of certain flavored e-cigarette products, and expressing concern over its decision to distinguish menthol from the other kid-friendly flavors.

 

“Your decision removes these several flavored products from the market and is a step in the right direction to protect American public health and curb the youth vaping epidemic.  In announcing your decision, however, you distinguished menthol from the other kid-friendly flavors,” the Chair wrote.  “As you consider whether or not to approve the continued sale of any menthol-flavored product, I will respectfully remind you of your strong statements on the public record with respect to the harms of menthol-flavored e-cigarettes on teen use and addiction.  On June 23, 2021, you testified before the Subcommittee, making it clear that any ‘unique consideration’ related to menthol makes menthol more dangerous than other kid-friendly flavors.”

 

FDA’s decision to distinguish menthol from other kid-friendly flavors is a stark contrast to Dr. Woodcock’s congressional testimony.

 

On June 23, 2021, Acting Commissioner Woodcock testified under oath before the Subcommittee that menthol in e-cigarettes is “like having a higher concentration of nicotine in your delivery system,” “heightens the addictiveness of nicotine in e-cigarettes,” and “makes it harder to stop vaping.”

 

Today’s letter follows an extensive investigation into flavored e-cigarettes by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

 

On July 24, 2019 and July 25, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy held two hearings entitled:  “Examining JUUL’s Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic:  Part I,” and “Examining JUUL’s Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic:  Part II.”

 

On December 4, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy held a hearing entitled “The Federal Response to the Epidemic of E-Cigarette Use, Especially Among Children, and the Food and Drug Administration’s Compliance Policy.”

 

On January 2, 2020, Chairman Krishnamoorthi condemned the Trump Administration’s weakened vaping guidance, which broke the former President’s promise to protect America’s youth by clearing the market of all e-cigarette flavors, including menthol.

 

On January 23, 2020, the Chair sent a letter to FDA about its plans to enforce the Trump Administration’s partial ban on flavored vaping pods, requesting the FDA monitor, in real time, the large number of children who will migrate to menthol e-cigarettes from other now-banned flavors. 

 

On June 23, 2021, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy held a hearing entitled “An Epidemic Continues:  Youth Vaping in America,” to examine the scope of the youth vaping epidemic and the role of the federal government in addressing youth e-cigarette use and addiction going forward.

 

On April 29, 2021, the Chair applauded FDA’s announcement of its plan to ban menthol cigarettes to protect public health and contribute to racial justice.

 

Click here to read the letter.

 

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117th Congress