FDA

‘We’re trying to protect children’: Donna Shalala on e-cigarettes
Florida Democrat touts bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes from 18 to 21

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala is sponsoring a bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes, and any tobacco product, from 18 to 21. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hundreds of Americans have become sick and eight have died after using electronic cigarettes, prompting a bipartisan response in Washington. President Donald Trump last month called for a ban on the flavorings believed to attract young people to the devices.

But Florida freshman Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress needs to do more. Shalala, who was Health and Human Services secretary under President Bill Clinton, has teamed with a fellow House Democrat, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, on a bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes, and any tobacco product, from 18 to 21, and add other restrictions aimed at keeping young people from getting hooked on nicotine.

E-cigarette deaths prompt bipartisan response

Signs in the window of the Smoke Depot advertise electronic cigarettes and pods by Juul, the nation's largest maker of e-cigarette products, on Sept. 13, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Bipartisan group urges FDA to go beyond vaping flavor ban
Senators call for more action to curb e-cigarettes

Last week, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.” (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators from both parties emphasized to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday that more should be done to curb youth vaping beyond the Trump administration’s decision a day earlier to ban e-cigarette flavors.

Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless briefed the senators in a morning meeting that the organizer, Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Illinois, described in positive terms. Last week, Durbin called on Sharpless to resign if the FDA did not restrict flavored e-cigarette sales, but Durbin said Thursday that Sharpless “responded to my letter in a positive way and I want to give him a chance to show that he’s serious.”

Trump orders end to flavored e-cigarette sales amid vaping-linked illnesses
Flavored e-cigarette makers will need to apply to the FDA for sales authorization

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in July. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday said it planned to halt the sales of flavored e-cigarettes amid a national outbreak of lung illnesses that may be linked to vaping devices.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Food and Drug Administration will issue a new policy within several weeks that will require all flavored e-cigarettes to come off the market.

New FDA cigarette labels include realistic images of smoking-related health problems
The long-delayed warnings, now subject to public comment, would update textual statements already on cigarette packs

Examples of the new Food and Drug Administration warnings on packs of cigarettes. The warnings would update the textual statements already on cigarette packages, and for the first time include photorealistic images that depict smoking-related health problems. (Courtesy/FDA)

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday proposed long-delayed graphic health warnings for cigarette packages, taking a step toward fulfilling a requirement of a decade-old smoking prevention law.

The new warning label proposal will now be subject to a public comment period, and is under a court-ordered deadline to be finalized by March 15, 2020.

HHS outlines drug import plans as Canada ratchets up concern
Canadians are worried that drugmakers could try to raise prices on the drugs sold there

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who was previously skeptical of importation, now says it is more feasible than ever before. (File photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced plans to help states and others import lower-cost drugs from Canada, a popular but controversial idea that President Trump has embraced but that the Canadian government has pushed back on.

The plans outlined Wednesday will offer guidelines for setting up drug importation programs, but they also highlighted the challenges of this approach to lowering drug prices for consumers in the United States.

‘Enter hemp with extreme caution,’ Kentucky farmer tells Senate panel
Agriculture Committee hears about the lows induced by hemp production

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes a new generation of Kentucky farmers finds hemp just as lucrative a crop as tobacco once was. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Farmers facing low prices and mired in trade uncertainty see hemp as the next big cash crop, but a Kentucky veteran of six hemp harvests warned it’s a demanding plant to produce.

“Enter hemp with extreme caution,” Brian Furnish told the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday.

Juul under continued scrutiny over flavors, marketing tactics
Juul officials will appear before panel Thursday and will likely address Wednesday allegations

Sen. Richard Durbin, the bill sponsor for preventing the sale of flavored e-cigarette products said that raising the age of tobacco purchasing 'isn't enough.' The popular e-cigarette Juul is under scrutiny for appealing to young people through e-cigarette flavors.  (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The popular e-cigarette Juul is under renewed scrutiny by Congress thanks to two days of hearings that could pressure lawmakers to act on e-cigarette flavors that appeal to young people.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee heard from witnesses about the company’s efforts to attract some vulnerable populations, namely teenagers and American Indians.

Papaya outbreak highlights FDA’s food safety challenge
‘Inability to track and trace foods with speed or precision’ is agency’s ‘Achilles’ heel’

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges Food and Drug Administration officials face in fighting foodborne illness. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Salmonella infections caused by contaminated papayas highlight the challenges federal officials face in fighting foodborne illness, as a law from nearly a decade ago meant to modernize the food safety system is starting to show its age. 

The Food and Drug Administration is trying to bring its efforts to track and prevent outbreaks in line with the technology now at its disposal. But because spending for next year is uncertain, Congress could make it difficult for the agency.

Debate on e-cigarettes lights up 10 years after FDA tobacco law
Calls grow for agency, Congress to do more after spike in teen use

Florida Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress must update the 2009 law that gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A decade after Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products, there is a growing sense that the law should be revisited to address a product that lawmakers barely knew about in June 2009: electronic cigarettes.

The tension lies in how to balance e-cigarettes’ potential benefits with their clear risks. While e-cigarettes may offer a less harmful alternative for adults who smoke combustible cigarettes, they can appeal to young people who never would have smoked.