Harkin It s About Time for FDA Action on E Cigarettes Senate leader to regulate tobacco products welcomes step encourages increased oversight

WASHINGTON, D.C. Senator Tom Harkin (D IA) released the following statement today after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its proposed “deeming regulations” for a range of tobacco products, including e cigarettes, bringing the products under the agency s tobacco control authority. Harkin chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which has oversight of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act nearly five years ago was an historic step towards protecting the public health from the scourge of tobacco. Today s proposed expansion of FDA s authority to include more tobacco products is an essential step forward,” Harkin said. “Without FDA oversight, e cigarette manufacturers have been free to make unproven or even false health claims about their products. These proposed regulations will aid in treating e cigarettes as what they are addictive tobacco products. I am hopeful that they will lay the groundwork to bring an end to these shameful practices.

“I applaud Commissioner Hamburg and the FDA for using its authority granted by the Tobacco Control Act to issue these deeming regulations, which will allow for regulation of e cigarettes,” Harkin added. “I urge the agency to keep their foot on the gas and take strong action towards ensuring that they are kept out of the hands of young people in particular, by including in the finalized rule a prohibition against candy flavors used to entice kids to become addicted to their products. I also encourage stakeholders to submit comments so that these regulations can be finalized and strengthened.”

As a longtime member and now as Chairman of the HELP Committee, Harkin has been a leader in Congress in calling for stronger regulation of tobacco products to protect consumers and the public health. In 1998, he introduced the first comprehensive, bipartisan bill to give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. He was an original sponsor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the agency immediate authority over traditional cigarettes, roll your own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, as well as the authority to assert jurisdiction over other tobacco products, including e cigarettes, through today s deeming regulation. The law also banned candy and fruit flavored cigarettes, banned misleading health claims such as “light” and “low tar,” required tobacco companies to disclose the contents of tobacco products, and empowered the FDA to require changes in tobacco products.

Harkin has been outspoken about the need for FDA to issues a strong rule and assert its authority over e cigarettes and other tobacco products, warning against the dangers of e cigarette use among children and teenagers after recent CDC data showed that use of these products had more than doubled among middle and high school students since the 2011 2012 school year. He joined other senators to call on e cigarette makers to explain marketing tactics targeting children, which culminated in an investigative report showing a dramatic increase in the marketing of e cigarettes to young users, and urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate these practices.

Harkin has called on the FDAand the Administration on multiple occasions to release strong deeming regulations for a range of tobacco products, including e cigarettes. He has also pressed the FDA and the FTC to protect consumers from false or unproven advertising claims from e cigarette manufacturers. Recently, Harkin joined colleagues to introduce the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Ac twhich would prohibit the marketing of e cigarettes to children and teens.

Robber takes cigarettes from chestnuthill township rite aid

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A man brandishing a knife robbed the Rite Aid pharmacy in Chestnuthill Township of just cigarettes after the cashier could not get the register to open, police said.

The incident happened at 2 30 a.m. Tuesday at the store at routes 115 and 209, state police said.

The man, described as white, 6 feet tall and 220 pounds, came into the Rite Aid and demanded that the cashier open the register. The cashier could not get it open, and called for a manager.

The robber than took cartons of cigarettes and some individual packs of cigarettes and left the store about two minutes before the manager got to the front of the store.

The robber was described as wearing tan or brown shoes, blue jeans, light colored gloves, and a black hooded sweatshirt with HVAC&R in white letters on the back and unknown lettering on the left front chest area.

He left on foot headed south on Route 209, police said. He was believed to have had a vehicle somewhere close in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police in Fern Ridge at 570 646 2271.