Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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DeGette and Colleagues Advocate a FY2018 Budget Free of Tobacco Riders

Apr 5, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), joined by 26 other members of the House, today advocated for maintaining federal oversight of the safety and health effects of tobacco products. In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and FDA, the legislators urge against the inclusion of policy riders in the FY 2018 budget that would undermine the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to review tobacco products.  

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in our nation, each year leading to more than 480,000 premature deaths,” the letter noted.  “Last year FDA took a critical step to protect children and public health by issuing a final rule that will enable the agency to begin to oversee e-cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products that had previously been outside of FDA’s authority. With the high rates of use of these products among youth, the need for FDA oversight of these products is clear.”

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, passed in 2009, enabled the FDA to begin overseeing the manufacturing, sale and marketing of all tobacco products. Under this authority, FDA issued a final rule last year to begin to regulate e-cigarettes, cigars, and other items that it had not yet overseen.  However, the House FY 2017 agriculture appropriations bill contained two policy riders that hampered the agency’s ability to do so. The first rider sought to exempt certain cigars from FDA regulation. The other sought to exempt thousands of e-cigarettes, cigars and other recently regulated tobacco products from review.

The letter, addressed to Chairman Robert Aderholdt and Ranking Member Sanford Bishop, noted that this rider removes “a powerful and efficient tool to protect children from the candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and cigars” at a time when each day, more than 2,100 kids under age 18 try smoking cigars for the first time. 

A copy of the letter is posted here